Just about all of the award winners at Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards took on Donald Trump's controversial refugee ban

By Char AdamsMariah Haas and Reagan Alexander
January 30, 2017 08:13 AM
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Things got political at Sunday’s 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Before the annual award show even began, stars were vocal about the strained political situation in the U.S. after President Donald Trump was sworn into office earlier this month. And, during the actual award show, many winners took time in their speeches to send out strong political messages.

And the attendees (and other winners) felt that the political turn on the show was necessary and welcome.

“I think it was an opportunity for everybody to show that they won’t and have no intention of being complicit with their silence,” Orange is the New Black‘s Uzo Aduba told PEOPLE during the SAG Awards afterparty on Sunday.

Stars including Simon Helberg, Ashton Kutcher and Julia Louis-Dreyfus spoke passionately against Trump‘s executive order to temporarily ban all refugees from entering the U.S.

Helberg took to the show’s red carpet with a sign that read “REFUGEES WELCOME” and Louis-Dreyfus spoke of her late father‘s journey to the United States as he fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France.
Joining the long list of stars to give a politically charged speech at the award show was Aduba’s costar Taylor Schilling. The actress elaborated on her speech backstage, telling PEOPLE that OITNB‘s cast ensemble wouldn’t be had it not been for immigration.

“I don’t think our cast would exist without people coming to America to seek a better life,” she said.

“What happens, I think, in our show is the more individual and personal we get with people’s stories the more we realize that they are universal. We are not as separate as we think we are.”

Kevork Djansezian/WireImage

During her own impassioned speech Taraji P. Henson praised the diversity in her SAG Award-winning Hidden Figures and called for unity.

“This story is about what happens when we put our difference aside and we come together as a human race,” she said.

Henson echoed her statements to PEOPLE backstage, saying that people “need” the film — about black women working at NASA who helped send the first Americans into space — because “it represents hope.”

“If you just focus on the bigger goal of the American dream, that is what makes this country great,” she said. “I think [this film] is a reminder of that. It is timely, it is not, there is a reason that this film wasn’t made five years ago. It was needed now.”

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The most passionate acceptance speech of the night came from Stranger Things actor David Harbour. In the moving address, Harbour vowed to “repel bullies” and “shelter freaks and outcasts.”

Charlie Heaton, Harbour’s castmate in the Netflix show, praised Harbour’s speech, calling it “powerful.”

“Obviously he was very nervous tonight,” Heaton said backstage. “You know David is a person who means what he says, and it was very relevant, very powerful.”