How Rosario Dawson Is Using Her Platform to Highlight Diverse Issues Affecting Our Community

Rosario Dawson is an actress, filmmaker, and political activist. She's currently executive producing the web series The North Pole, which takes on immigration rights, climate change, and the state of political activism in 2019. This story was told to Maria G. Valdez and edited for length and clarity.

I've grown to fall in love with Movement Generation, an organization that engages in transformative action educating folks on vocal power, the opportunities we have to really make an impact in our community, looking outside of ourselves in order to make the changes we need to see, and what that could look like in the environment, environmental justice, housing justice, and all of it — how it all intertwines, and how that education is so vital to properly stand up for ourselves and each other.

We teamed up to executive produce the show The North Pole to showcase different voices and different stories and conversations around justice and justice work, from how difficult and challenging it is, to what it looks like in people's real lives. Everyone's just struggling to be healthy and successful and have housing and all these different things, and we show what that looks like in their perspective.

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Shifting the Conversation

What we're aiming to do is really educate viewers on the reality of immigration, environmental justice, housing, access to health care, voting. Voting is not the be all, end all to everything, but it's really critical. Just knowing all of the different key aspects about how it works and the ripple effect it has is very powerful. We also talk about veganism and how critically important it is for your health to eat better, but also being aware of where our food comes from and what we're actually being sold.

We have the crisis at our borders right now, but we're not really looking at the history that we have in this country against other South American nations and why it's so dangerous for migrants to be there that they're even coming here in the first place.

We need to educate ourselves, be open to learning new things and perspectives that we've never thought about because they're not always necessarily spread in our greater media narrative. We have to really help people share their stories, so that we can better understand each other from a human perspective as opposed to from statistics and numbers. A human being is a lot more than just being documented or not. Everyone deserves to have their story be told and be weighed in on how we make actions that support, or not, each other.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Actress Rosario Dawson speaks at the We Vote Next Summit event presented by Eighteen X 18 at TOMS Corporate Office on September 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)
Getty | Paul Archuleta

About the Immigration Crisis

It's critically important for all of us to continue to recognize that migration is normal and natural, that it's vital for families staying together and really looking out for our future. They have the idea that the best way to handle this crisis is to rip families apart and to tear people apart. But that creates lasting indelible traumas on folks, and that's the exact same reason why we'll continue to have terrorists, because we keep hurting people and bombing people, and then those children grow up, and it becomes a long-term problem.

You're not actually addressing the root cause. What you're doing is putting a band-aid to this immigration issue and creating more problems for the future that can't be resolved with just a little piece of legislation. We need to have humanity injected into the process.

As long as we keep using fear as our basis for looking at this issue, we're going to continue to sow more divisions and sow more hatred, and ultimately create more problems for ourselves. If we start coming at this from the understanding that these are our families, these are our brothers and sisters, we have an opportunity to create a different kind of policy that helps all of us to be celebrated rather than dehumanized.

It's All About Showing Up

There are a lot of organizations that are very, very excited about the outreach and education we're bringing forward, because they need the help and the support, and especially when we come up like we are right now on an election. A lot of people are really counting on people showing up and voting, not just because of the candidate, but because the numbers are critical, showing who's paying attention to what and how we can continue to fight for different initiatives.

If people don't show up, it really takes the foundation out from a lot of these different actions we're trying to make happen, because people lose hope if people don't care, and they're not going to do the work to educate you and bring you on board. So, if you don't make that effort, it really hurts the people who can sometimes be a little bit more available.

You can't join every action, you can't join every ballot, you can't join everything. You can vote, you can send money, or you can promote the message.