Angelina Jolie has long used her platform to draw attention to global injustice. In a new and rare interview, Jolie candidly spoke to Harper’s Bazaar UK about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected her worldview, along with how she and her six children have coped with the anxiety of living with this crisis.
Jolie was first asked whether being in lockdown has caused her to reevaluate what’s important to her. Jolie said:
I was fortunate years ago to travel with the UN to frontlines around the world and put into perspective what really matters. Having six children, I am reminded daily of what is most important. But after almost two decades of international work, this pandemic and this moment in America has made me rethink the needs and suffering within my own country. I am focusing both globally and domestically; they are of course linked. There are more than 70 million people who have had to flee their homes worldwide because of war and persecution—and there is racism and discrimination in America. A system that protects me but might not protect my daughter [Zahara, Jolie’s 15-year-old daughter she adopted from Ethiopia when Zahara was six months old]—or any other man, woman or child in our country based on skin color—is intolerable. We need to progress beyond sympathy and good intentions to laws and policies that actually address structural racism and impunity. Ending abuses in policing is just the start. It goes far beyond that, to all aspects of society, from our education system to our politics.
Jolie was then asked what advice she has for teaching children about issues surrounding racism. Jolie responded simply: “To listen to those who are being oppressed and never assume to know.”
The actress touched on how she and her family have coped with anxious thoughts toward the end of the discussion. Jolie focuses on her children…and their many pets: “Like most parents, I focus on staying calm so my children don’t feel anxiety from me on top of all they are worrying about,” she said. “I put all my energy into them. During the lockdown, Vivienne’s bunny passed away during a surgery, and we adopted two sweet little ones who are disabled. They need to be in pairs. They are so gentle and it has helped to focus on their care with her at this time. And on the dogs, and snake and lizard…”
You can read her full interview here.
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