Sir Patrick Stewart ranks highly on my list of excellent actors and all-around damned-good people. I remember his beautiful, shining head and liquid voice when he played Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: TNG. As a Shakespeare scholar, I have immense respect for him on the stage; his various portrayals of Macbeth, as well as his Claudius to David Tennant’s Hamlet in Gregory Doran’s 2009 rendition of Hamlet, are some of my favorites, to name just a few stellar examples.
In recent years, though, he has also become a vocal advocate for issues of equality. His support for LBGTQ communities earned him the PFLAG National Equality in Entertainment Award this last March. He has also lent his voice and his story to the “Ring the Bell Campaign,” which calls on men to step up and take a stand against violence against women.
At an Amnesty International event in 2009, Stewart shared his own experiences with the audience, recounting his father’s alcohol-fueled rages against his mother. He provides a vivid and moving portrayal of life in a violent home and heart-breakingly details how children – imps of seemingly infinite resilience and adaptability – make sense of and deal with such tumult. For instance, by five years old, he had become “an expert on the escalation of violence,” knew exactly when to thrust himself between the two in order to forestall an attack. “[Children] shouldn’t become experts in things like that,” he states.
Stewart shares his story so that other men might take responsibility for their actions and more stridently denounce the sorts of violent acts that affect women, children, and families, day in and day out. He rightly asserts that violence is a choice, and that children from violent homes are not destined to become abusers themselves.
This pretty much sums up my thoughts on Sir Stewart:
All of the feels. Here is his speech: