Read Chelsea Handler and Mary McCormack's Inspiring Speech from the Women's March at Sundance
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The Women’s March on Washington may have been the largest mass demonstration following a presidential inauguration in national history, but those who couldn’t make it out to the Capitol didn’t stand idly by. All over the world, people took to the streets to express their message of equal rights to the new administration–and that includes celebrities at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Chelsea Handler, who led the march, delivered the keynote speech of the day to a crowd of 8,000-plus people alongside her best friend, actress Mary McCormack. Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, John Legend, and Connie Britton also braved the snow to support the cause, many of them clad in pink beanies and enthusiastically waving signs. ICYMI, we have the full transcript of Handler and McCormack’s moving speech.
“Today we are all standing together in solidarity alongside our sisters and our brothers who are marching in Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, and hundreds of cities around the world in seven continents,” Handler said.
“And before anyone criticizes us for having a march at Sundance and for only walking four blocks, keep in mind we’re at 7,000 feet, so that’s like marching 12 blocks in Washington,” added McCormack.
“We are all here for the same reason today: To stand with hundreds of thousands of women, to demonstrate respect for our freedom, human rights, safety, and health, otherwise known as ‘Things We Thought We Were Done Marching For, But Apparently We’re Not,” said Handler.
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“Over the past few months, many of us have felt gutted and demoralized,” said McCormack. “This time last year, it felt like we were on the brink of achieving gender equality. People were talking openly about campus safety for women, the wage gap, sexual harassment. We were all excited that the crescendo of this movement was going to be the election of the first female president.”
“And that didn’t happen,” said Handler. “So, yes, we did experience a huge setback. But the only thing you can do when you have been set back is to step forward and continue to fight and use your voice. And that fight includes standing by an institution that’s synonymous with the health and safety of millions of women across the nation: Planned Parenthood.”
“It’s an institution that has always had our backs, and now that it’s being threatened and attacked, it needs our support more than ever,” said McCormack.
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“And first, let’s start by clearing up the misconceptions about the services that Planned Parenthood provides,” said Handler. “For one, Planned Parenthood is not just for women, it’s for men too. And it’s not all abortions–in fact, it’s actually mostly not abortions. Planned Parenthood provides safe, affordable healthcare for two and a half million people a year. Two and a half million. They provide services like testing and treatment for STDs, contraception and family planning, breast exams, and cervical cancer screenings.”
“Planned Parenthood also represents a safe place–a place where you can go to not feel alone and not be judged; a place where you can go when you have nowhere else to go,” said McCormack.
“So if you object to the work done by Planned Parenthood, then we object to your objection,” said Handler.
“But we implore the objectors: Please do your homework, because if you do, we think you’ll realize that allowing congress to defund this vital institution would be an enormous mistake that will have far-reaching consequences,” said McCormack.
“And speaking of doing your homework, there are a lot of people who are enjoying their benefits under the Affordable Care Act but are desperate to repeal Obamacare,” said Handler. “So just to clarify, they’re the same thing. Obamacare is the Affordable Care Act, and the Affordable Care Act happens to be Obamacare.”
“Now that we’ve cleared that up, back to Planned Parenthood for one more second,” said McCormack. “Many of us have sought out their services at some point in our lives, but even if you haven’t, you have a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a neighbor who has. As women, it is our responsibility to support one another to ensure this organization is around for the millions who do rely on it.”
“And if there is a silver lining to be found regarding this past election, it’s that it opened our eyes to the amount of work that still needs to be done,” said Handler. “And, you know what? If the election had gone the other way, maybe we would have grown complacent. Maybe we would have thought, 'We did it! We pushed through that glass ceiling!’ So the groundswell that we needed before that election is happening now. There’s something happening and I feel it.”
Credit: Todd Williamson/Getty
“We got the wake-up call,” said McCormack. “What happened didn’t just open our eyes, it slapped us across the face. And now we’re awake. We’re more galvanized, more focused, more motivated to fight.”
“So if you’re feeling hopeless, or you’re feeling dejected, take a look around–you’re not alone,” said Handler. “You’re not alone. Don’t lose hope. Get your hope. I’ll give you hope. Let’s all give eachother hope and stick together.”
“There is a movement happening, and gatherings like this are just the beginning,” said McCormack. “We need to seize the moment as an opportunity, not a setback. The people who oppose women’s rights have gotten bolder, so it’s time for us to get bolder right along with them. And if we concede and allow our country to move backwards on these basic rights, what other freedoms will they take from us? What’s next?”
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“This isn’t 1917, this is 2017,” said Handler. “We shouldn’t have to fight for progress we’ve already made, but we’re ready to. It’s our duty to take care of the next generation and to ensure that our children have the same access to the essential services that we all did… and this is coming from somebody who doesn’t even have a child. But as a responsible citizen, I know that we have a duty to protect everyone’s children.”
“I want to leave you with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt,” said McCormack. “'A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong it is until you put it in hot water.”
Handler said: “Who knew we were the new Tea Party?”