Why stars are wearing blue ribbons on the Oscars red carpet.

Oscar nominees and presenters brought some blue flair to the red carpet for the 2017 Academy Awards.

Stars pinned bright blue ribbons to their formal attire as part of the American Civil Liberties Union's Stand With ACLU initiative.

Ruth Negga, Oscar nominee and star of "Loving." Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.


The campaign, which launched last week, encourages celebrities and industry professionals to wear the ribbon as a bold symbol of solidarity with the national nonprofit.

Oscar nominee Lin-Manuel Miranda poses with a "Hamilton" cookie on the red carpet. Photo by Tommaso Boddi/AFP/Getty Images.

The simple adornment is similar to the red ribbon made popular in the early 1990s many stars wore to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS.

Model Karlie Kloss rocks her ribbon on the red carpet. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

Since 1920, the ACLU has offered tireless, nonpartisan commitment to protecting individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and U.S. law.

This includes standing against President Donald Trump's overreaching executive order, which banned refugees from seven Muslim-majority nations; fighting tirelessly for LGBTQ equality including transgender students seeking equal access and protection; and preserving the right to vote in the face of gerrymandering and felony disenfranchisement.

Protesters demonstrate in Philadelphia.Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images.

Their unrelenting support of free speech and the right to assemble even extends to groups like the Ku Klux Klan, the Westboro Baptist Church, and the Washington R*dskins, whose rights and liberties they've defended and supported in court — because the rights of extreme or controversial groups are often attacked first, and if those attacks are allowed to stand, it threatens the freedom of us all.

"Once the government has the power to violate one person’s rights, it can use that power against everyone," the ACLU site reads. "We work to stop the erosion of civil liberties before it’s too late."

Protesters shout at a Ku Klux Klan member at a Klan demonstration in 2015 in South Carolina. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Even if you're not walking the red carpet, you can still show your support.

Since the 2016 election, the ACLU has raised more than $79 million online from more than 1 million generous donors, including a $24 million surge over two days following the refugee ban.

With that budget boost, the ACLU will boost operations at the state and local level, hire additional lawyers in Washington, D.C., and New York, and invest $13 million in citizen engagement, including protests.

Thousands of people gather at City Hall in San Francisco to protest President Trump and to show support for women's rights. Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images.

You can support the ACLU by connecting with your local chapter to volunteer or making a contribution. Do your part and give what you can. You don't need a red carpet to take a stand.

Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Vanity Fair.

True

When Molly Reeser was a student at Michigan State University, she took a job mucking horse stalls to help pay for classes. While she was there, she met a 10-year-old girl named Casey, who was being treated for cancer, and — because both were animal lovers — they became fast friends.

Two years later, Casey died of cancer.

"Everyone at the barn wanted to do something to honor her memory," Molly remembers. A lot of suggestions were thrown out, but Molly knew that there was a bigger, more enduring way to do it.

"I saw firsthand how horses helped Casey and her family escape from the difficult and terrifying times they were enduring. I knew that there must be other families who could benefit from horses in the way she and her family had."

Molly approached the barn owners and asked if they would be open to letting her hold a one-day event. She wanted to bring pediatric cancer patients to the farm, where they could enjoy the horses and peaceful setting. They agreed, and with the help of her closest friends and the "emergency" credit card her parents had given her, Molly created her first Camp Casey. She worked with the local hospital where Casey had been a patient and invited 20 patients, their siblings and their parents.

The event was a huge success — and it was originally meant to be just that: a one-day thing. But, Molly says, "I believe Casey had other plans."

One week after the event, Molly received a letter from a five-year-old boy who had brain cancer. He had been at Camp Casey and said it was "the best day of his life."

"[After that], I knew that we had to pull it off again," Molly says. And they did. Every month for the next few years, they threw a Camp Casey. And when Molly graduated, she did the most terrifying thing she had ever done and told her parents that she would be waitressing for a year to see if it might be possible to turn Camp Casey into an actual nonprofit organization. That year of waitressing turned into six, but in the end she was able to pull it off: by 2010, Camp Casey became a non-profit with a paid staff.

"I am grateful for all the ways I've experienced good luck in my life and, therefore, I believe I have a responsibility to give back. It brings me tremendous joy to see people, animals, or things coming together to create goodness in a world that can often be filled with hardships."

Camp Casey serves 1500 children under the age of 18 each year in Michigan. "The organization looks different than when it started," Molly says. "We now operate four cost-free programs that bring accessible horseback riding and recreational services to children with cancer, sickle cell disease, and other life-threatening illnesses."

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