Rev. Al Sharpton Leads #OscarsSoWhite Protest Near the Academy Awards

02/28/2016 AT 07:25 PM EST

Rev. Al Sharpton is taking a stand against the Oscars.

Sharpton and activists from several civil rights organizations are protesting the 88th annual Academy Awards at a busy intersection near the Dolby Theatre that many attendees are expected to pass on their way to the awards show.

Sharpton's National Action Network called for a "Nationwide TV Tune-Out" ahead of Sunday's awards, sharing a flyer on social media that encouraged followers to "take a unified stand for diversity, inclusion and justice" in Hollywood by not watching the telecast.

"Let's send a strong message that diversity in the film industry must be more than a hollow promise," the flyer said.



In addition to the Los Angeles demonstration, rallies are organized across the country in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Miami, Cleveland and Detroit.





Actors of color were completely shut out of the nominations for this year's Oscars, sparking outrage and backlash that ultimately led to drastic changes to the Academy's voting process.

Watch the PEOPLE & EW Red Carpet Live streaming pre-show celebration on Feb. 28 beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT on PEOPLE.com and EW.com, with live red carpet coverage, fashion and beauty trends, and winner predictions. And catch the 88th Academy Awards at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on ABC. Click here for a handy ballot of this year's Oscar nominees!

Ahead of the protest, Sharpton delivered a sermon Sunday morning at the First AME Church of Los Angeles.



"In 2016, a year when we saw movies like Idris Elba’s Beasts of No Nation and Straight Outta Compton and Concussion, not one of these actors and actresses of color was nominated for their roles,” Sharpton told the black congregation, per The Los Angeles Times. "There are no blacks who can greenlight a film. We can put a black family in the White House, but we can’t put a black in the boardroom of power in Hollywood."

Later, he held a news conference next-door to the former home of Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Oscar, in 1940 for her role in Gone with the Wind.

Holding up a white Oscar stauette, he reportedly said, "They ought to present them as they are. White Oscars."
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