Celebrities have a responsibility to take part in social justice causes

When passionate, celebrities can evoke change and support on a given issue

Reese Witherspoon, Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian and the causes they support
Credit: 
Photo illustration by Josh Granovsky

While many of us have at least one charitable cause we hold dearly in our hearts, it isn’t uncommon to credit celebrities with bringing certain social justice issues to the forefront.

In a world overwhelmed by the presence of social media, more and more celebrities feel responsible for supporting and bringing awareness to various social justice causes. Whether that’s in the form of Instagram posts, tweets, speeches or financial contributions, there are multiple movements, issues and campaigns that have been brought to light by the well-known personalities of Hollywood.

One prominent example where a celebrity brought a national issue to the attention of the younger generation was when Shailene Woodley documented her role as a protestor against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

After actively participating in rallies, protests and speaking out against the pipeline, Woodley was arrested and charged for engaging in a riot along with criminal trespassing. As the Divergent actress’ mugshot surfaced the internet, the story and issue at hand regarding the pipeline became significantly more familiar to the general public. Without her stance and activism, the story may have never gained as much recognition in the younger generation as it did, especially in comparison to our parents more politically inclined generation.

Time’s Up is the most recent example of celebrities using their voices, influence and money to bring important social issues to the forefront of the public’s mind. Created to help those who lack the resources to obtain justice against perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment, this campaign recognizes the array of issues faced by women such as equal rights, recognition, protection and rightful justice. With so many famous voices taking a stand against this issue, just shy of $17 million has since been donated towards helping those without funds.

Along with monetary support, the campaign has gained a ton of momentum and recognition through celebrities’ use of social media to promote the campaign and encourage people to get involved.

Among many personal organizations that celebrities promote, UNICEF has a significant handful of celebrity ambassadors, including Selena Gomez, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lucy Liu and Alyssa Milano.

UNICEF has multiple partnerships and ambassadors that have created a program aimed at supporting children and mothers in developing countries. The program uses these well-known, beloved public figures to promote their organization and in turn, they gain reputable notoriety and use their voices to influence positive change.

This kind of support comes in the form of a range of platforms, with a lot of celebrities capitalizing on their careers in the limelight to promote certain organizations. Whether you love to hate them or hate to love them, the Kardashian-Jenner family has recently used their leading reality series Keeping Up with the Kardashians to openly support Everytown Gun Law Advocates, Planned Parenthood and the Alexandria House, a homeless shelter in Los Angeles.

In an episode featuring Planned Parenthood, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe discuss their lack of awareness concerning the organization and their desire to educate themselves in light of controversy arising during the Trump administration. The reality cameras followed the Kardashian-Jenner sisters to the Los Angeles clinic where they made a point of discussing the vast range of services offered by Planned Parenthood, most of which many are unfamiliar with.

In a separate episode, Kim has the cameras follow her to the Alexandria House shelter after previously discussing the issue of homelessness in LA. Since the episode aired, the Alexandria House has seen a flood of donations, with the largest being as much as $1 million.

It’s hard to disregard the impact celebrities can have on social justice causes when they get their voices and wallets involved.  

Since celebrities have the potential to influence the outlook of the general public, it’s important that they speak out when they’re passionate about an issue and use the power of their voices to affect positive change.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.