Celebrity Sophia Bush Sophia Bush Thinks We Should Call Out Brands That Don't Step Up for Reproductive Rights She joined Mejuri and A Year of Action to highlight brands that are standing up for change. By Christopher Luu Christopher Luu Instagram Twitter Christopher is a Southern California-based editor and has been with InStyle since 2018. He covers all things entertainment, celebrity, and culture. InStyle's editorial guidelines Published on March 31, 2023 @ 09:00AM Pin Share Tweet Email Photo: Getty Images/Presley Ann Whether it's being told to shut up and sing, to keep out of politics, or to stay in their lane, activists that happen to have multi-hyphenate modifiers next to their names often garner an eye roll — but A Year of Action is hoping to change that, bringing together brands and activists that refuse to simply brush off politics in favor of staying quiet. Last night, Sophia Bush celebrated the start of a major movement with Mejuri CEO and founder Noura Sakkijha: A Year of Action, which hopes to amplify voices across various industries and work to empower women and provide access to healthcare in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Bush and Sakkijha emphasized the importance of community in this sort of undertaking, which feels almost impossibly daunting — but together, they're working to make sure companies that support reproductive rights get the recognition they deserve and the ones that stay on the sidelines get called out for not stepping up. "We live in a community. When huge swathes of our community are underrepresented and not cared for, not only do those people suffer, but the whole community suffers, the whole planet suffers," Bush says of the seemingly dismal state of affairs. "We're in a broken society because we've subjugated half of our society. It's not working for any of us. Those people at the top, who are all pale, male, and stale — it's not working for them, either. I think it's time for us to be in charge." The partnership came organically, Bush explains, because not only is she a fan of Mejuri's designs, she was quick to support the line's cause and community. "Did you come to me because I'm shouting from the rooftops about women's rights every day, all day or is it because you see how often I'm ordering from the website," Bush joked. But her activism isn't a joke: Bush has been outspoken about women's rights and reproductive rights long before the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022. She even paid a visit to the White House during Women’s History Month and has attended the White House Correspondents' Dinner. CNN named Bush one of the most charitable celebrities and in addition to being vocal about the current state of women's rights, she's led the charge on girls' education and environmental issues. Getty Images/Presley Ann How Fashion Brands Are Standing Up for Reproductive Rights "Economic issues are women's issues. Reproductive health issues are community issues. It's all cyclical and connected," she says. "It feels really special to draw in all the connections from so many different communities. It feels like a special moment to get things done and really rally people for a cause." Partnering with Mejuri was a natural fit according to her jewelry box and the brand, with Sakkijha saying that Bush was top of mind when it came to choosing someone to work with. "She's amazing, she's influential, she also is very outspoken and wants to influence positive change.," she says. "We share a lot of values. It was a match made in heaven." While it can seem intimidating for non-celebrities to get behind a cause, Bush says that it doesn't take much time to give a voice to the movement. A Year of Action promises to have community walks, engage with students and faculty on college campuses, provide education resources to everyone, and even commission a piece of public art on the anniversary of Dobbs v. Jackson. Even that may seem daunting, but Bush has a suggestion that doesn't take more than a few minutes — and in true actor form, even has a script ready to go for anyone who needs it. How the Beauty Industry Is Standing Up for Reproductive Rights "One of the most powerful things you can do, and I can promise you it takes five minutes because I do this. I have a weekly alarm set on my phone to call my representatives," she shares. "You can call your representatives and you can call your congresspeople and just reiterate, repeat all the time, 'We want protections for women. We want protections for our rights. We want protections for our non-binary community, for menstruating people.' It doesn't take long, but they really do act based on the volume of calls their offices receive. So, we show up and we act out of community care rather than the folks that show up rallying behind guns in a bad way. We can make change and it doesn't really take long at all." Sophia Bush for President? She's Not Ruling It Out The night also included speeches from Don’t Ban Equality's Rachel Johnston and Cynthia Brooks, the associate director of Black Health at Planned Parenthood, who recognized the Year of Action committee's partnership with Planned Parenthood and promised to continue fighting as rights are stripped away every day. At the mention that 19 states now have restrictive abortion laws, they encouraged the crowd — filled with influencers, models, entrepreneurs, and celebrities alike — to not only make a donation but to use their platforms to spread the committee's message. Sakkijha echoed the team's sentiments, explaining that in today's landscape, shoppers are well aware of the power behind their dollars. If a brand simply stays quiet, the silence is deafening — which gives Mejuri and its partners the chance to fill that void with meaningful change. "When we talk about next-generation brands, I don't think that it's just a brand that sells jewelry," Sakkijha explains. "A next-generation brand has to be mission-driven, and there has to be a meaning behind what you're created. When you buy from a brand, you buy from a brand because you belong and you feel the values align. And so I think that it would be narrow-minded for people to think that brands should sway away from having values and having a mission-driven approach." Getty Images/Presley Ann My State Banned Abortion Hours Before My Appointment — but I Knew I Still Had Options Sakkijha knows the value of creating a community alongside growing her brand. She notes that with the loyal, dedicated following that Mejuri has fostered, she's seen firsthand that customers want to stand alongside the values that she and the Year of Action committee have championed. "When the overturn of Roe v. Wade happened, it felt like a threat to women's empowerment. We were one of the first brands to comment and take a stance. What we're doing now feels very natural and in alignment with what Mejuri stands for," she explained. "I did a panel last week and women were lining up to talk to me. I thought they were going to talk to me about jewelry. Almost 90% of them were talking to me about how our values mean something to them." It's just the beginning for the Year of Action committee and Bush is excited to see the project grow not just for the next 365 days, but beyond that, too. And not only is she hoping to see more and more brands, activists, and individuals join the fold, she knows that real change is on the way as long as everyone works together. "My hope is that as we create these cross-industry coalitions, cross-issue coalitions, and cross-group coalitions, we can really lift all of us," she says. "Because everybody's in it together."