Hollywood celebrities are enthusiastically showing their support for the “Breathe Act,” the new legislation introduced Tuesday by the Movement 4 Black Lives that seeks to defund police departments around the country and to redirect taxpayer dollars to community safety initiatives.
Stars including Connie Britton, Anna Paquin, Lena Waithe, and Piper Perabo are backing the measure, along with Selma filmmaker Ava DuVernay and House of Cards creator Beau Willimon. Mega pop star John Legend put his celebrity power behind the measure Tuesday by performing during an online launch event for the legislation.
The Breathe Act is the creation of the Movement 4 Black Lives, the far-left coalition that includes Black Lives Matter and Color for Change. “The current moment requires a solution that fundamentally changes how we spend money as a society,” the group said. “We are offering this visionary bill, which would divest from policing and invest in a new vision of public safety.”
Movement 4 Black Lives is framing the bill as a modern-day civil rights act. Among its provisions is the stripping of public funding from police departments and other law enforcement institutions, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Those dollars would instead go toward social welfare, health care, education, and environmental initiatives.
“Squad” members Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) also showed their support for the bill on Tuesday by participating in the virtual launch event.
Actress-comedian Amy Schumer endorsed the bill, saying “As a supporter of the #BREATHEAct, I’m advocating for the change I want to see.”
Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Ayanna Stanley-Jones. Elijah McClain. Natasha McKenna. And countless more. Their lives mattered. As a supporter of the #BREATHEAct, I’m advocating for the change I want to see. https://t.co/Q5d8ENW5Cy pic.twitter.com/MmEjIHLFxh
— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) July 7, 2020
Nashville star Connie Britton encouraged her fans to join the movement backing the Breathe Act.
— Connie Britton (@conniebritton) July 7, 2020
Oscar-winner Anna Paquin called the Breathe Act a “modern-day civil rights” bill intended to defend black lives. “We simply cannot wait to take action,” the actress tweeted.
I am committed to defending Black lives. Today, I’m asking you to join me in that commitment by supporting the #BREATHEAct. This is a modern-day civil rights bill in defense of Black lives. We simply cannot wait to take action. https://t.co/OQynj0nEsB https://t.co/oVTm1RnT4j
— Anna Paquin (@AnnaPaquin) July 7, 2020
Actress Piper Perabo said she is supporting the bill because it will mean defunding the police and divesting from “white supremacy.”
Here’s why I’m a proud supporter of the #BREATHEAct:
❌ It will #DefundPolice & divest from white supremacy
💸 It invests & creates opportunity for Black communities
📣 It holds elected officials to their promises & reimagines public saftey
➡ Join today: https://t.co/ddCosPtpeZ https://t.co/jRL38iCH3t
— Piper Perabo #StayHome (@PiperPerabo) July 7, 2020
Selma director Ava DuVernay encouraged her Twitter followers to learn more about the Breathe Act.
“This bill divests taxpayer dollars from discriminatory policing and invests in a new vision of public safety, one that answers calls to defund police and grows the ability for communities to breathe free,” she tweeted.
Do you know about The Breathe Act? This bill divests taxpayer dollars from discriminatory policing and invests in a new vision of public safety, one that answers calls to defund police and grows the ability for communities to breathe free. #BREATHEact https://t.co/SrAsqOvzWE
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) July 7, 2020
Actress-writer Lena Waithe, of Showtime’s The Chi, evoked the names of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Elijah McClain and others in a tweet promoting the Breathe Act.
Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Ayanna Stanley-Jones. Elijah McClain. Natasha McKenna. And countless more. Their lives mattered. #BREATHEAct, I’m advocating for the change I want to see. This is the modern-day Civil Rights Act FOR US, BY US: https://t.co/PrXLndrcJk pic.twitter.com/ImXR3EkH8s
— Lena Waithe (@LenaWaithe) July 7, 2020
House of Cards creator Beau Willimon called for a revamping of the country’s legal system. “We need to replace old systems with more humane ones,” he tweeted.
We need to think big. We need new visions. We need to replace old systems with more humane ones. Click on the link. Venture outside the box we’ve been conditioned to accept. #BREATHEAct https://t.co/ySAuFUVIi8
— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) July 7, 2020
Black Lives Matter co-founder and Hollywood actress-writer Patrisse Cullors tweeted that she is a “proud supporter” of the new bill.
Too many Black lives have been lost to police violence. FINALLY, we have a federal bill that reflects OUR beliefs, OUR needs, and the future we want to see for OUR communities. I am a proud supporter of the #BREATHEAct and I’m inviting you https://t.co/HYYTnIHXCC pic.twitter.com/esMkG3fZLu
— patrisse cullors (@OsopePatrisse) July 7, 2020
Actresses Constance Zimmer and Tatyana Ali also showed their support for the bill.
I just added my name as a community co-sponsor of the #BREATHEact.
— Constance Zimmer (@ConstanceZimmer) July 7, 2020
I’m proud to add my name as a supporter of the #BREATHEact. Too many Black lives have been lost to police and state violence. This is the modern day Civil Rights Act we need For Us, By Us: https://t.co/GoxMft9hIV
— Tatyana Ali (@TatyanaAli) July 7, 2020