*Viola Davis, who has spoken at length about growing up in “abject poverty” in Rhode Island, recently shared a heartbreaking story about her father being turned away from an emergency room despite suffering from a gall bladder infection.
“He had an infection and he walked three miles to the hospital in 12-degree weather,” Davis said Sunday (Dec. 3) at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Bill of Rights Awards gala. ”[He] got to the hospital to sit for another five hours before the doctor said, ‘You got to go home, you look like a drug addict.’”
“He leaves the hospital. He walked three miles back home. He sits for another three days before gangrene started setting in and he walked back to the hospital and they finally admitted him,” she said, via The Hollywood Reporter. “That is the dignity being taken away from you when you don’t have any money. You don’t have access to health care. You have no food.”
Davis, who received ACLU’s Bill of Rights Award for her commitment to economic justice, has spoken about having to steal food and sift through maggot-ridden garbage bins for something to eat during her childhood. Her family was so poor that they couldn’t afford bus fare, and Davis often walked to school in shoes with holes so big that she was basically walking in socks.
Now, the Oscar winner works to shine a light on the millions of Americans who are suffering from poverty today.
“I have two mottos for 2017 and they are ‘I’m doing the best I can’ and ‘I’m gonna leave it all on the floor,’” she said Sunday night.
Watch Viola’s full speech at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Bill of Rights Awards gala above.