• Press Release

Post Oscars’ Event Release

April 22, 2021

April 21, 2021


“The First But Not The Last” Virtual Event Recognized 
Trailblazing Women in Entertainment and Politics Ahead of 93rd Academy Awards


Photo Credit: Getty Images for EMILYs List; Video Credit: EMILYs List

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, April 20, EMILY's List, the nation's largest resource for women in politics, hosted its fourth annual pre-Oscars event to recognize groundbreaking women ahead of the 93rd Academy Awards. Entitled, “The First But Not The Last” after Vice President Kamala Harris’ infamous quote, the invite-only virtual event featured conversations with trailblazing women who, like Harris, have shattered glass ceilings in their respective industries and are active proponents of continued progress. 

EMILYs List Creative Council Co-Chair Chelsea Handler and EMILYs List Executive Director Emily Cain opened the event, welcoming guests and introducing the morning’s first panel. “Vice President Harris’s mom had a saying – that while she might be the first, she would not be the last. And today, we’re going to talk about what we need to do to make sure all of the women I just mentioned will be the first, not the last…” said Handler, “because electing more women like them is the only way we’ll make the progress we want to see.” 

“In 36 years we have helped elect 157 women to the House, 26 women to the Senate, 16 governors, and more than 1,300 women to state and local office. And that’s what we do. We help women win,” Cain said. “We know that our work electing Democratic pro-choice women is key to dismantling the systemic racist, sexist systems that hurt women and hold women back – especially women of color.”

Hosted by the EMILY's List Creative Council, the panel featured a powerful mix of entertainment industry and elected leaders including Emmy-winning creator and host of “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” Samantha Bee, Academy Award-winning actor, producer, author, and activist Jane Fonda, director, producer and Academy Award-winning actor Regina King, award-winning actress, director, and artist Lucy Liu, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, and was moderated by host and writer Zerlina Maxwell. 

The women discussed how they are using their personal voices and platforms to drive change. Fonda, who got emotional discussing the climate crisis, credited young activists including Greta Thunberg for her time in Washington D.C. at 82 years of age, said, “It was the young climate activists, the students, who protested globally – it was the largest global protest in history – that kind of shook me up. And Greta Thunberg who said ‘pay attention to the science.’”

Samantha Bee spoke about producing “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” and the complexities of using a traditionally comedic platform to cover controversial social and political issues. “My approach to the show now is so much more grounded…” Bee said, “we aren’t dealing with a really chaotic leadership. We now have professionals in place who actually care about outcomes.” Bee then joked that the conversation served as a reminder of something she always says to her gynecologist, “Every time I go and see her, we say the same thing to each other which is: just give women the entire world to run for ten years. If you don’t like it better at the end of ten years, you can have it back, but I guarantee you’re going to like it better.”

The necessity for the work EMILYs List does to elect Democratic pro-choice women to office was embodied by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham who spoke about her work in New Mexico. Regina King, who spent time in New Mexico during  quarantine, shared that she tuned in to Governor Lujan Grisham’s press conferences every day and applauded the leadership she witnessed. “During the pandemic I was in Santa Fe,” King said, “and I got to see Governor Lujan Grisham. I was so blown away at her transparency, but [also] her ability to lead with compassion.” 

Following the panel, vice chair of the EMILYs List Board of Directors Paul Bernon moderated a conversation with Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark about her personal experience and relationship with EMILYs List. “We have elected the most diverse caucus in the history of Congress with EMILYs List’s help. I wanted to make sure that that wasn’t just a talking point,”  said Assistant Speaker Clark, “but that we really incorporated women’s experience, their different perspectives and life experiences, into the policies that we do.”

The fourth annual EMILYs List pre-Oscar event host committee included: Adam Umhoefer, Amy Landecker, Amos Buhai, Bradley Whitford, Cate Park, Desiree Flores, Emmy Rossum, Hannah Linkenhoker, Jennifer Lin, Kathryn Hahn, Keri Putnam, Lizzie Thompson, Lorrie Bartlett, Maddy Roth, Marissa Devins, René Jones, Sara Benincasa, Sarah Clossey, Sue Kroll, Shelter PR, Wendy Greuel, WME, and Yvette Nicole Brown.

For more information about EMILYs List please visit www.emilyslist.org.


Sunshine Sachs
Pipere Boggio, Brandon Bouchard 
[email protected] 

EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $700 million to elect Democratic pro-choice women candidates. With a grassroots community of over five million members, EMILY's List helps Democratic women win competitive campaigns – across the country and up and down the ballot – by recruiting and training candidates, supporting and helping build strong campaigns, researching the issues that impact women and families, running nearly $50 million in independent expenditures in the last cycle alone, and turning out women voters and voters of color to the polls. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect the country's first woman as vice president, 157 women to the House, 26 to the Senate, 16 governors, and more than 1,300 women to state and local office. More than 40 percent of the candidates EMILYs List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. After the 2016 election, more than 60,000 women reached out to EMILY's List about running for office laying the groundwork for the next decade of candidates for local, state, and national offices. In our effort to elect more women in offices across the country, we have created our Run to Win program, expanded our training program, including a Training Center online, and trained thousands of women.