Fonda was pregnant and living in France in 1968, where she at first stayed on the outskirts of rising social and political movements. But the influx of news about the Vietnam War and civil rights in the US inspired her to return home and dive into activism. She was arrested after returning to the US from an anti-war speaking tour and her mugshot with a raised fist became an iconic image of resistance.
She held fundraisers for the Black Panthers in her home. She campaigned for revolutionaries such as Angela Davis, whom she visited in prison in 1971. When activist Bernie Whitebear led a Native group to occupy Fort Lawton in Seattle in response to the declining state of reservations in 1970, Fonda arrived to help him bargain for their rights. When young Native Americans occupied Alcatraz in San Francisco from 1969 to 1971, she visited them also.