Aside from the uncharacteristic Los Angeles rain, it was a regular Saturday morning in Kerry Washington's household on Nov. 7 — until news outlets across the country projected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the history-making winners of the 2020 presidential election.
"I was hanging out with my family, and it was actually raining here. My kids and I, [as soon as we heard the news], we went out and danced in the rain. We were splashing around in puddles and just enjoying it," Washington, 43, tells PEOPLE.
The mom to son Caleb Kelechi, 4, and daughter Isabelle Amarachi, 6, with husband Nnamdi Asomugha, even let her kids celebrate the election results with an early morning sweet treat.
"We told them they could have ice cream. They were like, 'We get ice cream!' And I was like, 'And also democracy!' " she says.
Leading up to the election, Washington made it her mission to inspire others to get out and vote. She has also passionately been advocating for the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ+ rights and more.
"I guess for me, it's not so much that I want to use my celebrity to tell people what to do. It's more just that as Americans, we live in a democracy that needs all of us to contribute and to use our voices," she explains. "So, a lot of times I'm not using social media to say, 'I'm Kerry Washington, listen to me.' I'm more saying, 'I want you all to know that your voices are as important as mine. For this democracy to work, we need all of us to show up and to contribute.' "
Washington, who recently invested in the start-up jewelry brand Aurate and designed a Lioness Capsule to represent female empowerment, says she hopes to use her voice to encourage others to "know they are the lionesses of their own pride."
"They are the Olivia Pope of their own communities," Washington says, referencing the character she portrayed in the hit ABC drama Scandal.
She adds, "Each and every set of eyeballs, each and every follower that I have, they too are part of the solution. They're part of the voices that we need in this choir or democracy.
"So that for me is really what it's about: reminding people of how powerful they are."
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