Susan Sarandon

We’re taking a break from our usual content to instead spotlight one of our favorite people here at the Leftorium. Actress Susan Sarandon, born Susan Abigail Tomalin, is, in addition to being an actress of more than three decades, a staunch activist for progressive causes. From her anti-war activism to her support for LGBT rights, Sarandon has used both her acting roles as well as her platform to call attention to various injustices in the world. Film and TV roles, documentaries, producing, advocacy, protests, charitable donations, the list goes on. Lorenzo’s Oil and Dead Man Walking both earned her academy award nominations as well as acclaim for lending her talents to films criticizing the pharmaceutical industry and the criminal justice system respectively. Earning accolades for appearing in such films would usually be enough for most actors working today. Susan Sarandon has however never been content with advocacy through her work on screen alone.

In 2003, Sarandon was one of the first big names to vocally oppose the US Invasion of Iraq. She joined activist Cindy Sheehan in a 2006 “Mother’s Day Protest” against the war at a time when Sheehan was being made a laughing stock by both the left and the right. At a 2007 anti-war rally in DC, she joined Jane Fonda and Tim Robbins in support of a congressional measure to withdraw troops from the region. Following decades of LGBT misrepresentation in film, she appeared in 1995 along with a slew of actors, directors and writers in the documentary The Celluloid Closet, which tackled the ways Hollywood films had depicted homosexuality on screen. At a 2000 shadow convention in Los Angeles, she spoke out against harsh and unduly punishment of drug offenders. She served on the advisory board of Racism Watch in 2004.

Currently, she’s one of the biggest advocates for ending capital punishment and mass incarceration. In May 2015, she began fundraising to help finance the documentary film Deep Run about a poor North Carolina teen undergoing gender transition. Speaking to a crowd in Madison in 2011, she challenged Scott Walker on his Budget Repair Bill. That same year, she joined the Occupy Wall Street protests in NYC. Pope Benedict XVI his high holiness was none too pleased when she described him as a nazi that same year. Earlier this year, she took activist Rosa Clemente to the Academy Awards.

Doing so much in her life and storied career to make the world better can be exhausting for anyone, much less someone being blamed for things she had nothing to do with but she isn’t stopping any time soon. On June 28, 2018, she was arrested alongside 575 people during the “Women’s Disobey” demonstrations for protesting migrant family separations.

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