Washington, who produced the documentary The Fight, out July 31, opens up about motherhood and making a difference in this week's issue

By Janine Rubenstein
July 29, 2020 10:05 AM
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Like many moms, Kerry Washington has her hands full, working from home while homeschooling three kids during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the star — who co-produced The Fight, a powerful new documentary about the American Civil Liberties Union, out July 31 — opens up to PEOPLE in this week's issue about how her parenting has evolved in the wake of not one, but two ongoing global crises.

"It's a difficult time," says Washington. The actress and 2020 Emmy nominee, 43, is currently social distancing at home with husband Nnamdi Asomugha, 39, and kids Caleb, 3, Isabelle 6, and her stepdaughter.

Celeste Sloman

"Things are moving fast and everybody's really busy, and the kids are at home, and you're working on your computer all day. It’s a lot," she says. On top of the current health crisis, the star says the resurgence of the fight against racial injustice has impacted her family's day-to-day as well.

"No matter your age, we’re all navigating the two pandemics, of COVID-19 and this sort of awakening around systemic racism. It is a lot to manage for everybody. When it comes to the parenting, I’m trying to be more patient," she says, "with myself and everybody in my house. We’re all in our process."

Washington has taken a positive approach to teaching her children during these trying times, especially when it comes to the topic of race.

"My kids range from age 3 to 14, so it’s different conversations with different folks. We’re actually doing lots of studying of Africa at home right now," she explains.

"We were just building pyramids out of sugar cubes because we’re talking about Egypt. It’s figuring out how to celebrate Black identity and Black lives outside of a context of struggle," she adds. "I think the struggle is so important, but so is just planting the seed of cultural value and rich humanity, so that the value of who we are doesn’t come from the limitations that have been placed on us."

Magnolia Pictures

When it comes to Washington's latest project The Fight, a film distributed by Magnolia Pictures and Topic Studios, she's hoping to teach the nation about the work of lawyers on the front lines of some of the most important legal and political battles taking place right now.

"There’s something really powerful about how these lawyers are humanized in the film," she says of attorneys like Dale Ho, who is leading the ACLU's charge to protect voter rights. "They're real life Avengers. This really is a year where it’s so important that every single one of us counts."

The Fight is available on demand July 31. 

For more on Washington's important new project and her life now, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.