By Catherine Brown –
On New Year’s Eve 2021, heartbreak struck America when news broke that beloved actress and comedian Betty White passed away. Although White is no longer with us, her memory and legacy in the entertainment industry will forever be remembered.
White was a champion for equal rights.
In 1954, on her T.V. program The Betty White Show, she hosted Arthur Duncan, a Black tap dancer. This caused significant controversy and she was asked to remove him from the show. Amidst complaints over the decision, she refused to do so. Despite threats to take the show off the air, she didn’t back down.
In response to the uproar, White said, “I’m sorry, but, you know, he stays. Live with it.”
Unfortunately, the show was canceled that same year. However, she continued to advocate for civil rights.
White was also known for her advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community. She had once remarked that she believes that same-sex couples have a right to get married the same way that opposite-sex couples do, and that she “[doesn’t] care who anybody sleeps with.”
Of homophobia, she said, “I don’t know how people can get so anti-something. Mind your own business, take care of your affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much.”
She was also a long-time supporter of animal welfare.
White worked with several animal welfare organizations during her lifetime, including the African Wildlife Foundation and the Los Angeles Zoo Commission, where she served on the board of directors since 1974.
On her 100th birthday on Jan. 17, 2022, her fans raised millions of dollars to donate to local animal shelters in her name as part of the “Betty White Challenge.”
According to Meta, Facebook’s parent company, fundraisers for the challenge held on Facebook and Instagram raised $12.7 million from more than 390,000 donors. The money will be donated to animal shelters and rescue groups.
White’s passion for both human and animal welfare lends itself to a legacy unlike any other.
Photo Courtesy//Wikimedia Commons