On the night of the 89th annual Academy Awards, Ruth Negga was early to arrive to the red carpet. Standing out against the bright crimson of her Valentino gown, was a blue ACLU ribbon. The ribbon, representing the American Civil Liberties Union’s new Stand with the ACLU initiative, was the trending accessory on the red carpet.
For almost 100 years, the ACLU has “worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States,” the organization lists as its mission its official website.
The ACLU as an organization also played a major role in Negga’s film Loving. The film focuses on the true story of Mildred and Richard Loving, played by Negga and Joel Edgerton, an interracial couple arrested and thrown out of the state of Virginia in 1958. The Loving’s case was taken up by the ACLU and eventually went to the Supreme Court, resulting in the end of America’s miscegenation laws.
The celebrities who wore the ribbon showed their support for the ACLU. In addition to Ruth Negga, Karlie Kloss, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, and Sting all joined in the effort and pinned blue ribbons to their formal wear.
According to the ACLU, the group reached out to all major nominees to participate in the initiative to “Stand With the ACLU” and demonstrate their solidarity with the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, which has worked for nearly 100 years to defend and protect individual rights and liberties.
The organization has been especially busy since Trump’s election. In February, the ACLU announced it would create a “rapid response team” to help those deported or kept out of the United States following President Donald Trump’s travel ban, which has since been halted by a federal court judge in Washington state.
The ACLU has established a Constitution Defense Fund that focuses on a seven-point action plan related to the Trump administration’s agenda. This includes demanding government transparency, protecting the rights of immigrants, protecting reproductive rights, defending First Amendment rights, defending LGBTQ rights, defending core civil rights and liberties, and mobilizing the American people.
The ACLU made a statement on their website explaining how “the ACLU will continue to defend our basic freedoms and hold this administration accountable for every unlawful or unconstitutional measure they propose. We will use the courts as one avenue to aggressively advance our agenda, but we cannot do it alone.” The Oscars was an example of the effectiveness of using stars and celebrities as a platform for awareness.