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Shonda Rhimes’ Message to Young Women: ‘Vote’

Ahead of her keynote address at the Girls Build Summit in Los Angeles on Friday, super producer Shonda Rhimes previewed what the core message of her speech would be.

“Vote,” she told Variety. “Go register to vote. Get your parents registered to vote. Get everybody out there to vote.”

Rhimes gave her speech in front of a gathering of over 10,000 young women from Los Angeles public high schools for a program hosted by the LA Promise Fund in partnership with Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote. The theme of the event was civic engagement, particularly going into the midterm elections.

“I think it’s really important to have programs like this that really give girls a place to find resources and support, and that sisterhood to feel like they have the support to go out there and make change,” she said.

Never one to shy away from topical issues in her storytelling or her personal advocacy, Rhimes also touched on ways women can continue to push for change after the early successes of movements like #MeToo.

“It feels like we’re on the right track,” she said. “For me, it feels like so long as we’re moving forward in a way that feels very visible for people in industries and professions that are visible, that’s great. But there are a lot of industries and professions that aren’t that visible, and those women also need to get to have a chance to have parity, and dignity, and respect in their workplaces as well.”

Once on stage, Rhimes kept up that messaging, telling the crowd, “When we all vote, we can change the world…Every election counts. You do not want anyone else determining the course of your future.”

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