Oscar nominations for 'The Help' buoy housekeepers lobbying lawmakers
The announcement that two actresses from the film "The Help" received Academy Awards nominations gave a timely boost to more than 300 domestic workers who traveled by buses to Sacramento on Tuesday to lobby for a new law to protect housekeepers and nannies.
Viola Davis was nominated for best actress for her portrayal of a maid in the 1960s-set drama, while Octavia Spencer snagged a best supporting actress nomination for her role as another domestic worker.
"I'm on my way to share my story with legislators in Sacramento," said Maria Reyes, a caregiver from San Francisco. "Just like the women in 'The Help,' I believe in the power of our stories."
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) said during a rally on the Capitol steps that his legislation requiring overtime pay and meal breaks for domestic workers continues the struggle depicted in "The Help."
"That’s great but it's not enough," Ammiano said of the Oscar nominations, adding recognition is also because of modern efforts "observing civil and human rights and women’s rights with this legislation."
--Patrick McGreevy, in Sacramento
Photo: "The Help" features Octavia Spencer, left, and Viola Davis.
Credit: Dale Robinette / Dreamworks