A little over a week ago, Change.org teamed up with the Emmy-nominated cast of The Handmaid’s Tale to encourage people to speak up and take action on the issues they care about in the world.
Based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel about a not-too-distant-but-dear-God-don’t-let-this-happen dystopian and totalitarian society, the show centers on Gilead, a new nation in which women are treated as property of the state — their bodies used against their will for the purposes of sexual reproduction, their lives torn apart in the name of ideology.
To say the least, it’s not the most light-hearted show on television right now, but it sure as hell is one of the most important, as it illustrates the fragility of human freedom, democracy, and how crucial it is that we, together, #staywoke at all times.
Because more often than not, injustice and oppression don’t happen in the twinkling of an eye. Things fall apart gradually — subtly — in ways we miss, mistake, or simply avert our eyes to as we go about the busyness of our daily lives. One small, seemingly innocuous congressional bill leads to a larger public policy with more dire consequences; instances of accepting or ignoring hate aimed at one group of people can eventually turn into shocking scenes that look eerily similar to Nazi Germany or America’s Jim Crow era. And then, when faced with a reality we didn’t expect, we ask ourselves the questions: How did this happen? Where did we go wrong?
There lies the quandary that The Handmaid’s Tale sets before us, while it simultaneously urges us — practically begs us — to not be silent; to speak truth, even when it’s painful; and to not waver in our collective effort to affirm everyone’s humanity, embodying a world where everyone thrives and prospers.
This is why this partnership was a perfect match for us and our friends at Hulu. It speaks to the ways art and social issues are intertwined, and that users and viewers like you — like me — crave the ability to respond to stories long after the end credits.
For that, we’re thankful.
Check out the PSA, which includes actresses Elisabeth Moss, Samira Wiley, Alexis Bledel, Ann Dowd, and many others from the show. And see photos from the event below.
A.J. Walton is the Senior Communications Manager at Change.org.