Speaking to the World
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Award-Winning Actress & “Social Action Hero”
Best known for her award-winning work in more than 30 films—including the blockbusters Sister Act, Hocus Pocus, WALL-E and Rat Race — the voice of Peggy Hill on King of the Hill and roles on VEEP, Younger and Graves, Kathy Najimy is also a celebrated advocate on the frontline of myriad progressive social causes including TIME’S UP, reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ equality and animal rights. She is outspoken, energizing and inspirational. Kathy combines her acting and talents with a passionate commitment to equality and women’s leadership. Read More >
As a Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year, Kathy has been called a "social action hero." She credits her drive to her strong desire to see all living things treated equitably. "First and foremost, I'm a feminist. And basically, that stems from a strong belief that all deserve equal opportunity, rights and respect,” she says. Her long-standing advocacy has placed her at the forefront of the #MeToo and TIME’S UP movements. Kathy has also led the way for AIDS activism for 30 years and has been honored for her work for women’s and girls’ rights and self-esteem, reproductive rights and Gay rights.
A staunch advocate for animal rights, she was awarded the PETA Humanitarian of the Year Award, presented by Sir Paul McCartney. In 2022, Kathy, Kristin Chenoweth, Linda Perry and Chely Wright created and compiled a book called My Moment (Simon and Schuster). Over 100 women, from Gloria Steinem to Allison Russell, Carol Burnett, Lena Waithe, Billy Jean King, Joanna Gaines, Cynthia Erivo, Debra Messing, Chrissy Hynde, Tina Chen and many more, were asked: “What was the first time they fought for themselves?”
Najimy’s producing and directing projects reflect her passion for equality and social justice. She finished directing her first original short film, The Secret Club, and is currently producing a series about Steinem, Ms. magazine and the women’s movement in the ‘70s. She also created the Off-Broadway hit about the life of Steinem, Gloria: A Life. Najimy has starred on Broadway in the Tony award-winning Dirty Blonde. She also performed at Madison Square Garden to benefit V Day in The Vagina Monologues. Her other notable performing credits include the multi-award winning two-woman feminist comedy The Kathy & Mo Show, which she wrote, directed and starred in with Mo Gaffney, and roles on Ellen, Veronica’s Closet, Numb3rs, Unforgettable, VEEP, Chicago Hope, Younger and The Big C. She has even been an entrepreneur, inventing a problem-solving new garment for women.
Warm, delightful, human, humorous and with refreshing candor, Kathy encourages audiences to make a difference in the world. Whether she’s speaking out against sexism, racism or homophobia or speaking up for the power of women to lead in male-dominated industries, audiences are drawn in by her passionate, infectious energy.
Kathy’s first priority — other than her family — is to try to be a member of communities for equality, respect and change. Her philosophy always engages and inspires. “We are all equal, connected by our sense of common humanity and able to achieve great things together,” she says. Read Less ^
On Being an Actor and an Activist
The Civic Century – 2019 Points of Light Conference
The State of Women Rights
“The constant struggle with self-esteem, to change our bodies at every cost is not a defect we're born with. It's not organic. We are taught that our bodies are our worth and the less there is of us ... the more worthy we are.” Kathy Najimy shares her thoughts about body image, the road to wellness and confidence and calls for women to change the culture, not themselves.
According to Kathy Najimy, some believe that controlling the uterus is the source of controlling the entirety of womankind. To the long-time reproductive rights activist, pro-choice means pro your choice. Pro-choice women and men support a women's right to choose .... whatever they choose. In this compelling presentation, Kathy examines the fight for reproductive rights—where we are, how we got here and, most of all, what we all must do to protecthard-won freedoms.
Kathy Najimy believes that sexuality is to be celebrated and respected no matter where you land on the spectrum. That you love, not who you love, is to be honored and protected under the law. Kathy examines how upbringing, family, religion, exposure to media and belonging to a like-minded community shape our perspectives. An advocate for the rights, respect and well-being of the LGBTQ+ community since 1980, she calls for legal rights, empathy, understanding, and most of all, equality.
Data shows that the most violent countries are also the ones that have the most violence in the home. Domestic physical and sexual abuse is what normalizes all other violent acts. In other words, it all starts at home. According to Kathy Najimy, that’s where it must end. In this stirring presentation, Kathy calls for all of us to start a dialogue and ask the tough questions: How and why do abusers abuse? Why do survivors stay? What can we do as citizens and members of families and communities? Examining loss, shame and how we can best support the abused, she calls on all of us to advocate for safety and harmony through compassion, education and outreach.
For her many years of AIDS activism, Kathy Najimy was awarded the Howard Ashman's Lifetime Achievement from the GMHC. She has been honored several times for her work to end AIDS and guarantee rights for those living with HIV/AIDS. She's also been honored with L.A. Shanti’s Founder award and the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center’s Distinguished Achievement Award. She first became an AIDS activist at age 20, when she realized that “AIDS was the only disease surrounded by hate.” For decades, Kathy has been fighting this very hate, countering the misinformation and homophobia that have given rise to life-threatening misconceptions. Speaking from her long history in the movement, she counters falsehoods with the real truth about AIDS, who it affects and how and why we should embrace the global epidemic.
A staunch advocate of animal rights, Kathy Najimy has been fighting animal cruelty for decades. As well as being awarded the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Humanitarian of the Year Award, presented by Sir Paul McCartney, for all of her good work, she has posed twice for PETA's popular campaign “I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur.” In this talk, Kathy shares some of the most critical issues facing our furry friends—from fighting for SeaWorld’s captive marine mammals to be retired to ocean sanctuaries to banning horse-drawn carriages in New York City to saving animals who are being killed for their fur—as well as sharing how we can all become better advocates.
"She was fabulous! We had great feedback - she was so wonderful to come to all the events and hang out with everyone! We got great response in terms of donations that day as well."
"Since the conference, we have received numerous comments specifically highlighting your inspirational and sincere presentation. Our advocates have noted that your wonderful words were one of the most outstanding elements of this year’s program."
"The Women’s Fund has received so many compliments about Kathy Najimy’s presentation at our event, Voices Against Violence. We so appreciate her wonderful storied tapestry of serious and poignant issues interwoven with her unique and special humor. Kathy certainly helped The Women’s Fund gain stature with new friends in the audience."
"She was great. Really great, very likable and smart."
"You were a hit in Michigan! I just got back to dozens of emails and phone calls all raving about you! Thanks so much for everything you did for us! We raised a lot of money for Planned Parenthood because of you! Each of us on the volunteer committee has heard, over and over, that you were by far the most moving speaker we've had -- indeed, the best many had ever heard."
"Kathy was phenomenal and perfect for our event. Our CEO was a huge fan and we have received tons of fabulous feedback from guests!"
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