Activists from RefuseFacism.org stood at the corner of Fountain and Highland avenues in Hollywood on Sunday, attempting to stop passerby heading into the Oscars — held just blocks away — to hand them a pin that simply read “NO!”
“We’re here for the people of the Academy Awards, of the industry, to wear this ‘No’ button and make a statement for humanity,” said one of the group’s activist, who preferred not to be named. “I’d like to see people in the industry step out as Meryl Streep did, and how others have done, to condemn the xenophobia, the nationalism, the anti-women hatred, and to condemn the brandishing of nuclear weapons by the Trump/Pence regime and to declare ‘no’ — we are not going to tolerate this regime and it needs to be driven from power.”
Just a few blocks north — on the intersection of Sunset and Highland avenues — civil rights activist and founder of the non-profit Project Islamic H.O.P.E., Najee Ali, stood in solidarity with minority groups who were underrepresented at this year’s award ceremony. Last year, Ali led two protests at both the Oscar Nominees Luncheon and Oscars ceremony, to demonstrate against the lack of diversity within Hollywood and the Academy.
“This year it was vastly inspiring to see so many African-Americans being nominated,” Ali told Variety. “But we’re still not doing enough for women and other minority groups. We can’t allow them to just frame this as just a black and white issue.”
Ali said the next step in the process of expanding representation is to encourage Latino and Asian leaders to come out and advocate for their own people. “As a black activist who was at the forefront of this fight for the last two years — my colleagues and myself — we won’t fight for you, but we will fight with you,” Ali said.