“On my Monday morning, people are going to click a link to see what that woman from Scandal said at that awards show, so I think some stuff needs to be said.” That’s how Kerry began her speech at this weekend’s GLAAD Awards, not only predicting exactly what you’re doing this very second, but also preparing the crowd for what turned out to be a passionate and rousing speech on the need for equality in the entertainment industry and beyond.
“We have been pitted against each other and made to feel like there are limited seats at the table for those of us who fall into the category of other,” said Washington, as the crowd rose to their feet (one of several times they did so throughout the seven-minute speech). Washington was accepting the Vanguard Award—previous winners incude Jennifer Lopez, Drew Barrymore, and Janet Jackson—given to a star who’s used their platform to promote equal rights for LGBT people.
Washington has been an activist for many years, but with the success of Scandal her megaphone has grown louder. At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, she gave a speech on voter apathy, and the following year was named a chairperson of the GLSEN Respect Awards. “We can’t say that we believe in each other’s fundamental humanity,” Washington told the crowed, “and then turn a blind eye to the reality of each other’s existence, and the truth of each others’ hearts.”
It’s hard to argue with that.