'Loving' Star Ruth Negga on Her Support of the ACLU: I Have a 'Basic Love of Human Rights'

Loving star Ruth Negga is opening up about her blue, ACLU ribbon and the special significance it holds for her

Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars took to the red carpet at the 89th annual Academy Awards wearing blue ribbons to show their support for the American Civil Liberties Union, but for Loving actress Ruth Negga, the accessory holds special significance.

Negga, 35, praised the nonprofit, civil rights organization to PEOPLE on Sunday, noting her “basic love of human rights.” “That’s what they champion. And they’re a big part of our film,” Negga said of the organization.

In the movie Negga and Joel Edgerton play real-life couple Mildred and Richard Loving. The couple was arrested in their Virginia home in 1958 for being in an interracial marriage. The ACLU took up their case, which was eventually brought to the Supreme Court in 1967 and resulted in the end of laws against interracial marriage.

Negga sported the blue ribbon on her red, long-sleeved gown as she took to the awards show.

Ruth Negga
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

“They’re beautiful and they’re gorgeous and they’re good,” Negga told PEOPE of the couple, noting that the pair simply wanted to be together and raise a family. “The law stopped them and small-mindedness stopped them and the ACLU is about pulling that apart.”

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The accessory is part of the civil rights organization’s latest initiative, “Stand with ACLU,” according to a statement from the ACLU obtained by PEOPLE.

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Nominees, presenters, musicians and guests are encouraged to wear the ribbon at the annual event to show their support “for the rights and civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution to everyone in the United States.”

The actress is nominated for Best Actress for her role in the film.

“I think any time in history would have thirsted for this film,” Negga told PEOPLE. “I think we’re always needing a light at the end of the tunnel and for it not to be the oncoming train. For it to be the idea that we can all aspire to greater things and it’s inspired a lot of hopefulness in people.”

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