In the wake of the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, Beyonce is the latest celebrity to express outrage over the shooting deaths, both of which were caught on camera.
“We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities,” the 34-year-old singer and mother began the open letter, which was posted to her official website on Thursday. “It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they ‘stop killing us.’”
“We don’t need sympathy. We need everyone to respect our lives,” she wrote. “We’re going to continue to stand up as a community and fight against anyone who believes that murder or any violent action by those who are sworn to protect us should consistently go unpunished.”
“These robberies of lives make us feel helpless and hopeless but we have to believe that we are fighting for the rights of the next generation, for the next young men and women who believe in good,” Beyonce continued. “This is a human fight. No matter your race, gender or sexual orientation, this is a fight for anyone who feels marginalized, who is struggling for freedom and human rights.”
Beyonce emphasized that the open letter isn’t strictly a plea to police officers “but toward any human being who fails to value life,” declaring: “The war on people of color and all minorities needs to be over.”
“Fear is not an excuse. Hate will not win,” she said, encouraging the community for a call to action.
“While we pray for the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, we will also pray for an end to this plague of injustice in our communities.”
Beyonce’s younger sister, Solange, also addressed the police shootings, sharing a video of her singing Syreeta’s 1972 song “Black Maybe” in protest.
Sterling was killed outside a liquor store by Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police after an anonymous caller reported seeing a black man threatening someone with a firearm at that ocation, where he was selling homemade CDs, CBS News reported.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Castile died in a Minneapolis, Minnesota hospital after a police officer shot him in a car, with a 4-year-old child in the backseat, following a traffic stop. Castile’s girlfriend live-streamed the aftermath of the shooting.
Beyonce and Solange join a number of celebrities like Drake, Taraji P. Henson, John Legend,Grey’s Anatomy’s Jesse Williams, Chance the Rapper and Questlove in publicly condemning the shootings.