Kardashians as Activists: 7 Times Reality's First Family Championed Social Causes
You don’t have to have ever watched an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians to know the premise of the hit E! reality show.
Yes, it’s evolved over a decade, but it essentially follows Kris Jenner, Kim, Khloé, Kourtney, Kendall, and Kylie as they navigate their love lives, careers, and what to get for lunch. (If you’re a fan, you know they tend to gravitate toward massive salads.)
And while the show is without a doubt silly, recently, in addition to touting lip kits, highlighters, and designer jeans, the Kardashians have taken the time to shine a light on other things that matter.
Don’t believe us? Scroll down for all the times these women have used their platforms to call out important social issues.
Khloé and Kendall recently made headlines for heading to a shooting range to learn more about guns and whether or not to purchase one for self-defense (Kim was against the idea). But that's not the first time they've discussed arms. The sisters have previously spoken out against gun violence in America.
In June 2016, Kim shared an essay on her website tied to National Gun Violence Awareness Day. “Right now, there are more guns owned by civilians in this country than in any other country in the world,” she wrote.
“I’m not against guns and I’m not against people owning guns. After what happened to me in Paris, I know how important it is to be safe and to have armed security,” she continued, explaining that her security team is armed but that she believes in stricter gun control laws. “We all have a voice and a right to feel safe, to be protected from people who are a threat, particularly when handed a deadly weapon. I want to help build a safer future for my children and I believe together we can find ways to do that, while still protecting the rights of the American people.”
That November, Kim supported Kendall after the model questioned whether or not she should make a public statement about gun control.
“I’ve been meeting with Everytown, an organization that is fighting to change all the gun control laws,” Kim said, encouraging Kendall to speak up despite her own fear of backlash. “There are so many loopholes in the system, and I just feel really passionately about how our gun control laws have to change.”
Homelessness in Los Angeles
Also during season 14, Kim, Kourtney, and Khloé drove through L.A.’s Skid Row area, where their late father Robert Kardashian once took them as children to learn about homeless people in Los Angeles. The trio visited the Union Rescue Mission, where they learned that there are roughly 47,000 homeless people in the area, with only 12,000 shelter beds available.
In addition, Kim later paid a visit to the Alexandria House in L.A., where women and children seek shelter in emergency situations.
“I just want to bring awareness to this issue ‘cause I feel like there’s a lot that can be done in our community and it starts with just getting the information,” Kim said. She later met local formerly homeless women who have changed their lives through the organization.
In January, Kim shared that since the episode aired, Alexandria House received over $1 million in donations. "THANK U to those who have helped to make a difference!" she wrote on Twitter.
Hurricane Harvey Victims
Celebrities like J.Lo, A-Rod, Lady Gaga, and Oprah all came together to raise awareness about the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas this August, and the Kardashians were no exception. Kim, Khloé, and Kris Jenner took to Twitter to announce the family would pledge $500,000 to the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
In an episode of KUWTK that aired in October, Kim, Kourtney, and Khloé all visited a local Southern California Planned Parenthood clinic to learn more about what the organization does and how it helps women across the country.
“The perception of Planned Parenthood is that it’s this like abortion clinic. That’s nothing like what it’s like. Hearing that firsthand really made it real for me,” Kim said on the show.
“Hearing the stories for sure was eye opening,” Kourtney added.
They sit down with women who’ve all benefited from Planned Parenthood, including a woman named Kelly who was diagnosed HIV positive while in a relationship with her boyfriend. “Planned Parenthood basically kept me alive,” the woman said.
“I’m a big fan of Planned Parenthood now,” Khloé said after the meeting. “Meeting all the girls and hearing their stories and seeing how many women have been helped by some of the services they have to offer—I think people need to be more educated before they form opinions, and that’s what I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to do today.”
The Armenian Genocide
The Kardashians are of Armenian descent and famously visited Armenia in 2015 to honor the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide.
The following fall, Kim supported the Armenian National Committee of America with a letter and a full-page ad in the New York Times after the Wall Street Journal ran an ad purchased by Fact Check Armenia, a group that denies the events ever occurred.
“When we allow ourselves to be silenced by money, by fear and by power, we teach our children that truth is irrelevant. We have to be responsible for the message we pass on to our children. We have the honor the TRUTH in our history so that we protect their future. We have to do better than this,” she wrote.
In 2015, Kim served as the executive producer for an HLN documentary about mental health called #RedFlag which shared the stories of people suffering from various forms of mental illness.
“I am blessed to be surrounded by family and friends that are loving and nurturing,” Kim reportedly said in a statement about the film. "But not everyone has that kind of support. 25 percent of adults in America will suffer from a mental illness in their lifetime, and many of them turn to social media to vent their depression, loneliness, and isolation.”
Kim went out of her way to help Cyntoia Brown, a 29-year-old woman who was sentenced to years in jail at 16 years old for killing Johnny Mitchell Allen, a 43-year-old real estate agent who allegedly solicited her for prostitution. She'll be eligible for parole when she turns 69. In November, Kardashian West reportedly tapped her own attorney, Shawn Holley, to try and help Brown. She previously tweeted about the situation, writing, "The system has failed. It's heart breaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life! We have to do better & do what's right. I've called my attorneys yesterday to see what can be done to fix this. #FreeCyntoiaBrown"
These are definitely causes worth keeping up with.