Sarah Paulson called for people to donate to the American Civil Liberties Union during the SAG Awards on Sunday.
“Any money you have to spare, please donate to the ACLU,” said the actress while accepting the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series. “It’s a vital organization that relies entirely on our support.”
After speaking up for the legal organization, Paulson was asked in the press room if it was difficult to decide what to put in her speech. “It wasn’t a tough decision to come up with what I wanted to say. I mean, I am not an immigrant. I was born here,” she said of DPresident Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban, which the ACLU has successfully challenged in court. “So in terms of how I can speak about it from a personal standpoint from my youth or something, [that] wasn’t available to me, so I just wanted to have an opportunity to mention the inclusivity that I think is required right now in general, and the ACLU to me represents that across the board. And they do really rely on funds from people like you and me at this time.”
Paulson went on to address her perspective of the political climate, including the protests against the ban taking place at airports across the U.S. “It’s an odd thing, because this has been a very celebratory time in my life with my work being recognized, and at the same time it’s dovetailing with a very interesting time in our country,” she explained. “And so even as I was getting ready tonight, as excited and honored as I was, I felt the duality of the celebration and also the seriousness of people who are at JFK right now, people who are at LAX right now, people who are at airports all over the country. It just feels like a grave time. So at the same time, I also feel very honored and proud, so I’m trying to find a place to put it where I can be celebratory and also give the day its appropriate weight.”
Paulson joined a growing list of celebrities who are addressing the immigration ban. “I don’t think that anyone should feel pressured to do anything about anything,” she said of the reactions to Trump’s executive order. “I think we should all now be able to speak our minds as we see fit. I do think silence is not golden at this particular time. I do think if you have a platform and a place to say it with a large audience that you can reach further, then you should take the opportunity. But I don’t want anyone to feel that they’re failing if they’re not doing it or if they forget to…”
FX’s The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story has already snagged Paulson an Emmy, Golden Globe, and a Critics’ Choice Award for her portrayal of Clark, the prosecuting attorney who fought to convict O.J. Simpson of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Paulson thanked Clark in her speech.
Following her Golden Globes win in December, Paulson spoke with EW about the role and explained how one of her favorite things about it was the shift in public perception of Clark, who was subjected to a great deal of sexism during her time in the spotlight.
“One of the most thrilling things about this has been the narrative shift in terms of how people hold Marcia Clark in their minds,” Paulson said at the time. “And I feel very proud to be associated with that shift. I think it’s given her some peace, knowing that people do recognize that they got it wrong and they feel regretful about it and have said it publicly, to her in person.”
Click here for a complete list of winners at the SAG Awards.
Paulson beat out Bryce Dallas Howard (Black Mirror), Felicity Huffman (American Crime), Kerry Washington (Confirmation), and Audra McDonald (Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill) for the prize.