Laura Dern has had enough. Last night in her Golden Globes acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress for Big Little Lies, she urged parents to take a stand and empower their children to speak up when they or others are victimized by injustice.
In her impassioned speech, she said:
“Many of us were taught not to tattle. It was a culture of silencing and that was normalized. I urge all of us to not only support survivors and bystanders who are brave enough to tell their truth, but to promote restorative justice. May we also please protect and employ them. May we teach our children that speaking out without the fear of retribution is our culture’s new North Star.”
On the HBO series, Dern portrayed bulldoggish Renata Klein, whose young daughter was being physically abused by another student in her school, who she refused to name. Dern perfectly portrayed Klein’s frantic and heartbreaking struggle with best way to help her daughter who was simply too scared to talk.
“To David E. Kelly,” she went on, “our superhero who took Lianne’s words and gave me particularly the most outrageous, complicated woman and a terrified mother, terrified because her little girl was being abused and bullied and she was too afraid to speak up.”
While some would say we’re in the midst of heightened cultural awareness to bullying, it’s clear that not enough is being done … yet. Organizations like StopBullying.gov and StompOutBullying.org have made strides in helping name October National Bullying Prevention Month. And Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center has issued October 24, 2018 as Unity Day – a day for schools, communities and people online to show their support of the anti-bullying movement.
Dern’s message is one that urges parents to arm their children with the tools necessary to step out of fear, so that they can come forward when they are preyed upon. And her message to support “survivors and bystanders” is one that will lend an air of empowerment to children if they’re able to see it in action from the time they’re small.
The actress was one of many stars who spoke out about speaking up last night. Time’s Up Now, a legal defense fund created to put an end to sexual harassment and abuse against women in the workplace, had a front row seat at last night’s event. The group, which also aims to assist victims in obtaining legal support, launched its initiative just six days prior to the 75th Annual Golden Globes, hoping to garner awareness for the organization and its message leading up to one of entertainment’s biggest nights.
Hollywood megastars and industry heavy hitters took to social media in the days leading up to the Golden Globes using the hashtag #WhyWeWearBlack to raise awareness for the organization. Posts were a prompt for everyone, not only the award show attendees, to wear black in support of Time’s Up Now’s important message: that the time for staying silent out of fear is up.
While all parents understand it’s our duty to teach our children that bullying and harassment is unacceptable on every level, Dern’s speech serves as a reminder that we also need to teach them how to use their voice and remain fearless in the face of being wronged.