SPEECH BY: Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson
FILM: "MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM"
I was raised by my grandfather, James Holland. He was an original Tuskegee Airman. He represented the U.S. in the first Pan Am Games. He went to Argentina. He met Evita. He graduated from Northwestern University at the time that they did not allow Blacks to stay on campus, so he stayed at the YMCA. And after all of his accomplishments, he went back to his hometown in hopes of becoming a teacher. But they did not hire Blacks in the school system. So I want to say thank you to our ancestors who put the work in, were denied but never gave up. And I also stand here as Jamika and I break this glass ceiling with so much excitement for the future. Because I can picture Black trans women standing up here and Asian sisters and our Latino sisters and indigenous women. And I know that one day it won't be unusual or groundbreaking; it will just be normal. Thank you to the Academy, to Netflix, to Denzel Washington, to George C. Wolfe, to Ann Roth, to Miss Viola Davis, to Matiki Anoff, to Andrea Resnick, to the spirit of Ma Rainey. Thank you.
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