Viola Davis knows a thing or two about protesting; she was actually tossed in jail with her mother as a toddler during a protest at Brown University for welfare reform.
The actress says she wants to encourage the teachers protesting her controversial new movie, “Won’t Back Down”, because it is not only their right, it is one thing that brings about change.
“I welcome protest. I welcome discourse. I think discourse is a good thing, I think it spearheads change, I think we saw that in the ’60s,” Davis said. “That’s why we enjoy some of the privileges we do today. And you know what, in this movie, the teacher, at the end of the day, is the hero. They save the day.”
The film, which opened on Friday, focuses on the true story of a jaded teacher and a mother so frustrated with the school system that she starts a campaign to take over. The story, while inspirational to some, has educators upset because they feel it portrays them negatively. Though Davis says she can appreciate the feelings of the teachers, she also appreciates the strength of the women who figure central to the story, her character included.
“I don’t think it would be easy to come in and say, ‘Hey, let’s start a school.’ I do think that comes at a cost. That’s what life is about,” she said.