Celebrities, activists urge criminal justice reform at 'Day of Empathy'

Actor David Arquette and his wife, TV personality Christina McLarty Arquette, were among a crowd of activists in Arkansas on Tuesday calling for lawmakers to implement criminal justice reform laws like the ones President Trump signed into law in December.

“People that are re-entering society, we want them to have a fair shake,” David Arquette told The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “We want to end the dismantling of communities.”

Protesters rallied at the Arkansas Capitol against what they've called unjust criminal justice laws, encouraging lawmakers to consider reforms. Tuesday’s protests were part of a national "Day of Empathy" organized by #cut50, a national bipartisan initiative to reform criminal justice. The goal is to generate empathy for those affected in some way by the criminal justice system.

National Director of #cut50 Jessica Jackson, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and David and Christina Arquette met to discuss judicial reform during the "Day of Empathy" in Little Rock.

National Director of #cut50 Jessica Jackson, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and David and Christina Arquette met to discuss judicial reform during the "Day of Empathy" in Little Rock. (Jessica Jackson)

Tuesday marks the event’s third year.

“Politics aside, this is a bipartisan issue,” McLarty Arquette, an Arkansas native, told the Arkansas newspaper. “This is an issue about human beings on the level of, like, loving each other and kindness.”

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Many of the protesters advocated for reforms for incarcerated women, who they say have trouble accessing feminine hygiene products or are restrained during childbirth.

The topic of criminal justice reform continues to be an important issue among both Democrats and Republicans.

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The president signed the First Step Act into law in December. It aims to keep people out of prison after they have served time and reduces sentences for nonviolent offenders, among other things.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.