Although Donald Trump’s rise to political prominence has been a difficult and painful experience for the millions of people he has relentlessly denigrated, there is one silver lining to his candidacy – the renewed national dialogue on sexual assault. Since the leaked recording of his sexually predatory conversation with Billy Bush in 2005 reached national media attention, the response has been both heartbreaking and empowering. As a duel effort to give women space to openly talk about the negative personal effects of sexual assault and defeat Trump, these celebrities appeared in a powerful video for Hillary Clinton in which they got real about why sexual assault is not OK. The video, produced by the group Humanity for Hillary, features women telling their sexual assault stories and explaining why rape culture is not ok. Over a dozen celebrities, including Meryl Streep, Whoopi Goldberg, Amy Schumer, Rose McGowan, and Amber Tamblyn, appeared in the video, with Tamblyn taking a leading role.
First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to elevate global educational opportunities for girls and women is getting a major shot of star power from Meryl Streep, who has attended yesterday’s White House screening of the CNN documentary. Streep takes on the role of correspondent in “We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World,” a documentary film that makes its U.S. premiere Wednesday night on CNN. (It will be available Thursday on demand through cable and satellite systems and online via CNNgo.) The film chronicles Streep’s recent travels to Marrakesh, Morocco where she talked with young women about overcoming the cultural, economic, safety and health barriers that can keep them from pursuing an education. (According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, 62 million girls around the world are not in school.) “We Will Rise,” produced by CNN Films and the Documentary Group, also features the network’s correspondent Isha Sesay (a native of Sierra Leone), actress Freida Pinto and Obama, who listened to similar stories on a visit to Liberia. Pictures from the screening have been added to the photo gallery. The Los Angeles Times has an interview with Meryl Streep on her experience in Morrocco and the documentary.
As previously mentioned, CNN has followed First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to Morrocco this June, alongside actresses Freida Pinto and Meryl Streep, for a documentary that will be aired this Wednesday. At the core, is the fact that 62 million girls worldwide aren’t in school. Talking to Michelle Obama and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto, African girls discussed their schooling. “I was really struck by their tenacity, their insistence on an education,” Sesay sad. Some walked eight miles to middle school. Some left home to work near school. “I support myself,” a girl named Rafina says in the film. She stays with an aunt and uncle and does household work for them when she gets home from school. “From 9 p.m. to 11, I can do my schoolwork.” Others showed similar drive. One said she went on a hunger strike, until her parents let her go to school; now she speaks five languages. If this were simply a governmental issue, it could be solved at the top. It’s not … as people were reminded when they met Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. “It’s a great achievement on her part, to be a woman at the top of government,” Sesay said. More information on the documentary can be found on USA Today. “We Will Rise,” 9 p.m. ET Wednesday (Oct. 12), CNN, barring breaking news; rerunning at midnight. Also, noon ET Saturday on HLN (formerly Headline News).
CNN Films is producing a new film about girls overcoming incredible challenges to achieve their educations and change their own lives, with contributions from First Lady Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, Freida Pinto, and CNN journalist Isha Sesay. Singer Andra Day’s motivational anthem, ‘Rise Up’ will serve as the theme for the film. “We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World” featuring Meryl Streep, Freida Pinto, and Isha Sesay will premiere on CNN International on the International Day of the Girl during primetime in Asia, Europe, and Africa on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 6:00am, 12:00pm, and 3:00pm. All times Eastern. Around the world, more than 62 million girls are not in school, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). As girls grow into adolescence, cultural and familial pressures often make it harder for them to stay in school, though educating women correlates to lower rates of infant mortality, increased GDP, and greater economic security for families. “We are honored to have the contributions of the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, Freida Pinto, Andra Day, and our own Isha Sesay, for this inspirational film,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president of talent and content development for CNN Worldwide. The complete press release can be read here.
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, her mother and daughters Sasha and Malia were joined by Meryl Streep in Morocco’s Marrakesh on Tuesday on a six-day tour to try to promote girls’ education. More than a third of Morocco’s population of 34 million is illiterate – one of the highest rates in North Africa, and the rate is higher for women at 41 percent, official data shows. The U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was launched during her visit and includes US$100 million to be spent on 100,000 Moroccan students, half of whom will be teenage girls. The funds come from US$450 million given by the MCC last year to boost education and employability in Morocco. Michelle Obama stepped up her campaign for girls’ education after Islamist group Boko Haram seized 276 girls from their school in Nigeria in 2014 and she highlighted their plight through a Twitter hashtag, #BringBackOurGirls. She spent Sunday and Monday in Liberia, where she visited a U.S. Peace Corps site and a school with President and Nobel Peace laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, promoting Let Girls Learn, a U.S. government initiative begun with her husband in 2015.
In 2014, President Obama publicly declared his affection for Meryl Streep while presenting her with the Medal for Freedom. “I love Meryl Streep,” Obama said of the Oscar winner. “Her husband knows I love her. Michelle knows I love her. There’s nothing they can do about it.” And now, two years later, both of the president’s beloveds will make a transcontinental trip together. Actually, five of the president’s beloveds will make the voyage. People reports that Streep, the First Lady, Sasha and Malia Obama, and the girls’ grandmother Marian Robinson will travel to Morocco at the end of June as part of the Let Girls Learn initiative. While in Marrakech, Streep will join Obama and actress Freida Pinto in discussing “the challenges women in the African country deal with on a regular basis.” The stop in Marrakech is just one of several planned. For the others, in Monrovia and Madrid, the First Lady will discuss the educational obstacles that women around the world face. The complete article can be read over at Vanity Fair.
Michelle Obama and some of the most influential women in the country – powerful women entertainers, activists, and business executives – are joining forces for a June 14 White House summit tackling gender-equality issues under the banner “Today we’ll change tomorrow.” “We are the United State of women,” the first lady says in a star-studded video announcing the summit. “We stand stronger when we stand together.” Joining Obama for the launch video are Meryl Streep, Tina Fey, Oprah Winfrey, Kerry Washington, designer and fashion executive Tory Burch, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, satiric comic Jessica Williams, Christy Turlington Burns, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and more.
Meryl Streep, Harrison Ford, Jon Hamm and America Ferrera lead a public service announcement for the California Teachers Summit’s Better Together campaign. On July 31, more than 20,000 teachers from across the state will gather for Better Together: California Teachers Summit, a one-of-a-kind event designed to help teachers build a powerful network of peers across regions, share best practices and access effective resources to implement the new California Standards. You can view the PSA in the video archive and find screencaptures in the photo gallery.
A host of Hollywood stars, including Oscar-winning actresses Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson, have lent their support to a petition demanding that Amnesty International reject a proposal to endorse the decriminalization of the sex trade. The global human rights group is set to review an internal policy document on sex work at a meeting in Dublin next month, according to the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW). If the policy is adopted, Amnesty would “in effect advocate the legalization of pimping, brothel owning and sex buying – the pillars of a $99 billion global sex industry”, CATW said. Nearly 2,600 members of the public have signed the petition since it was posted on change.org last week, and endorsed by women’s rights campaigners and celebrities such as actors Emily Blunt, Lena Dunham and Anne Hathaway. US-based CATW said it agreed with Amnesty that sex workers should not be criminalized or brutalized by law enforcement agents and governments. “However, full decriminalization of the sex trade renders pimps “businesspeople” who sell vulnerable individuals, overwhelmingly with histories of poverty, discrimination, homelessness and sexual abuse, to buyers of sex with impunity,” the group said in a statement.The complete article can be read here.
Award-winning actress Meryl Streep sent a letter Tuesday to each member of Congress, asking them to restore the Equal Rights Amendment. “I am writing to ask you to stand up for equality-for your mother, your daughter, your sister, your wife or yourself-by actively supporting the Equal Rights Amendment”, the letter read. Streep has been publicly rallying for equality all year. The actress clapped and cheered her fellow nominee Patricia Arquette in her acceptance speech at the Oscars after she won the best supporting actress award. This proposed revision to the United States Constitution that would guarantee equal rights for women has been in negotiation for over four decades. Written in 1920, the amendment was introduced unsuccessfully in every legislative year in Congress from 1923 until it was finally passed in 1972. Thirty-five states ratified the amendment, but 38 states need to do so in order for it to be added to the Constitution. Perhaps she was inspired by her role in the upcoming movie Suffragette, in which she plays activist Emmeline Pankhurst, who helped women get the vote in Britain.