This week it is a real pleasure to honor a rising Hollywood star who has a great sense of activism and priorities. Josh Hutcherson, only 19, has been in films for half his life. He’s currently starring in the blockbuster book adaptation The Hunger Games. He also co-starred in the wonderful (but very dark) 2010 film The Kids Are Alright as one of two kids growing up with two lesbian parents. In a recent interview with E! Online, Hutcherson focuses on his work with the group Straight But Not Narrow.
Hutcherson is very focused on gay rights, in part because he lost two uncles to HIV while he was too young to really get to know them. He also credits his mother with helping establish his sense of activism and advocacy.
My mom has always been a big advocate, especially in the gay, lesbian, transsexual and bisexual community so for me it’s always been a part of my soul.
Even more impressive in one so young, Hutcherson is much prouder of his advocacy work than his celebrity status.
Acting is one thing, but actually trying to change the world and the way people think to make people’s lives better? That’s the stuff I’m most proud of.
This weekend he will become the youngest recipient of the GLAAD Vanguard Award, joining the likes of the great Elizabeth Taylor. I look forward to watching this young man continue to make his mark on the world.
Honorable mention this week goes to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. How shocking to see this group acting in a truly Christian way! In a strongly worded letter to Congress, the Bishops tear into the budget proposal put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan, pointing out how it violates Catholic precepts by putting the poor, vulnerable, and needy at risk.
The moral measure of this budget debate is not which party wins or which powerful interests prevail, but rather how those who are jobless, hungry, homeless or poor are treated. Their voices are too often missing in these debates, but they have the most compelling moral claim on our consciences and our common resources.
Given recent political meddling by Bishops regarding women’s health and this week’s BWA runner-up, Bishop Daniel Jenky, comparing the President to Hitler, it is a pleasant surprise to see a strong, truly moral message from this group.