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story.lead_photo.caption Christina and David Arquette talk about the National Day of Empathy, which was observed Tuesday in a rally on the steps of the state Capitol in Little Rock. The observance sought to raise awareness for Americans affected by the criminal justice system. More photos online at arkansasonline.com/307criminaljusticerally/ - Photo by John Sykes Jr.

Actor David Arquette and his wife, Christina, a native Arkansan, were in Little Rock on Tuesday, calling for empathy for Arkansas prisoners and their families.

The two appeared alongside criminal-justice advocates at the state Capitol for the third annual National Day of Empathy sponsored by #cut50, a national initiative to reduce incarceration.

Christina Arquette, who was born in Hope, said in an interview before the event that the couple was there to call for greater empathy and smarter policies for those involved in the state's justice system.

"We're gathered here at the Capitol to talk about empathy and compassion," she said. "And I think the big point is that the criminal-justice reform space not only affects victims of crimes but also people that have committed crimes."

Gallery: Criminal Justice Rally @ the Capitol

Christina Arquette cited her birthplace as one of the reasons she advocates for greater empathy toward those who are incarcerated.

"I always joke because I was raised in the South that Southern hospitality is a real thing," she said. "My parents raised me to love and to be kind and to have compassion and empathy."

"Hopefully we can make some changes because the system's broken," David Arquette said. "We just need to figure out how to make that work."

The two produced a documentary in 2018 titled Survivor's Guide to Prison, which explores the United States' prison system, and have been involved with #cut50 for more than a year, Christina Arquette said. Working on that film helped them to better understand what prison is like for those inside, she said.

The day, according to Ruby Welch, who is Arkansas' dignity ambassador for #cut50, is about bringing together the voices of people who've been affected by incarceration.

"Empathy is not only understanding but sharing and feeling what another person has gone through or is going through as far as being impacted by the criminal-justice system," she said.

After the speakers finished outside the Capitol, Welch said the group planned to move inside and speak with lawmakers about legislation intended to decrease the state's prison population and improve conditions for female inmates.

Metro on 03/06/2019

Print Headline: Arquettes join inmate cause

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