Chelsea Handler brings message of political activism to campus

Elizabeth Worthington, Editor-in-Chief

Comedian and recent political activist Chelsea Handler visited the University on April 3 to participate in a “fireside chat” that focused on promoting her message of political and social activism. The talk was moderated by Professor of Philosophy Sheila Lintott and was followed by a short Q&A session with the audience. The event was held in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts and about 850 tickets were sold.

This event was sponsored by the Student Lectureship Committee, who are responsible for bringing relevant and noteworthy speakers to campus once a semester.

“Last night’s event exceeded my expectations. Personally, I look up to Chelsea Handler’s activism and attitude of being unapologetically herself, and it was so rewarding to see so many students and community members feeling the same way about the issues she discussed. I hope that those in the audience will heed her call to speak up and speak out on behalf of women and other marginalized groups in society to make our country more accepting and welcoming to all people,” Melody Sonneman ’18, Chair of the Student Lectureship Committee, said.

It was no-holds-barred for Handler, as she touched on topics ranging from police shootings, feminism, the election of President Donald Trump, and gun control.

“I don’t even like children!” Handler said, as she lamented what she considers the apathy of the NRA and the favoring of guns over children. Despite the weightiness of the topics discussed, humor was sprinkled throughout the talk, which Handler considers crucial.

“I think we should make fun of all the things that keep us apart, and try to use it as glue to keep us together,” Handler said.

This event is part of Handler’s year-long tour of town-hall style events in which she spreads her social message. In a separate interview with The Bucknellian, Handler discussed the rationale for embarking on this tour. She cancelled her Netflix show, “Chelsea,” after two seasons in order to get more involved politically, because: “it was too upsetting for [her] not to participate and not to do something.” After being called an elitist, Handler realized that she was living a life of privilege and challenged herself to change.

“I want to know more, I want to learn more, I want my opinions changed, and I want to walk the walk and show up in places like this where I have to take eight airplanes to land five hours away from where I’m going,” Handler said.

Handler hopes that this year will end with “something beautiful and wonderful,” which could manifest itself in the election of a “record number of women” in the November midterm elections. This goal is in tune with her overall feminist philosophy, which she considers no longer an option but instead crucial for everyone – men and women – to embrace, calling feminism the “stepping stone to the next generation.”

Aside from women, Handler wants to help anyone who is marginalized in society.

“I’m the least marginalized person in the world, so obviously, me standing up for people that I feel aren’t getting a fair shake is my duty as a person, as an adult,” Handler said.

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