As the protests for Black Lives Matter continue across the US, more celebrities are joining the cause. Stars like Lizzo are demanding the government defund the police. Here’s who else is fighting alongside her.
Protesters across the United States are demanding justice in the wake of George Floyd‘s death, and that includes defunding police departments in every city and state. Celebrity activists like John Legend, Jane Fonda, and Lizzo have joined the cause, asking that bloated law enforcement budgets be cut, and the money instead be spent on health care, education, and investing in Black communities. Some stars have signed an online letter from Movement For Black Lives, vowing to fight for just that.
As the organization writes in their open letter, “Policing and militarization overwhelmingly dominate the bulk of national and local budgets. In fact, police and military funding has increased every single year since 1973, and at the same time, funding for public health decreased every year, crystallized most recently when the Trump administration eliminated the US Pandemic Response Team in 2018, citing ‘costs.’” Take a look at the celebrities fighting for justice, and to defund police:
“Defund the police sounds radical until you realize we’ve been defunding education for years,” Lizzo, 32, wrote on Instagram. “Abolish the police does NOT mean Abolish law enforcement. Defund the police means give some of those BILLIONS of tax dollars to healthcare/workers, social services, communities that need funding, education etc.. we can reimagine a better country where law enforcement does what it’s supposed to do!”
“When I first heard #defundthepolice, I have to admit my first reaction was fear,” Natalie Portman, 39, wrote. “My whole life, police have made me feel safe. But that’s exactly the center of my white privilege: the police make me as a white woman feel safe, while my black friends, family and neighbors feel the opposite: police make them feel terror. And for good reason. Police are the 6th leading cause of death for black men in this country. These are not isolated incidents.
“They are patterns and part of the system of over-policing of black Americans. Reforms have not worked. Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered, is one of the most progressive police forces in the country, having undergone extensive anti-bias training,” she continued. “I am grateful to the leaders in the @mvmnt4blklives who have made us question the status quo.
“And who have made us imagine, what a world could be like in which we invested in nourishing people — rather than putting all of our money into punishment. I’ve gotten to the age in my life, where if my gut feels uncomfortable, I take the situation as wrong. But this concept initially made me uncomfortable because I was wrong. Because the system that makes me feel comfortable is wrong. #defendblacklives #defundthepolice”.
Amber Riley, 34, shared a moving video taken at the Los Angeles Black Lives Matter rally to Instagram on June 2. The footage shows Amber herself belting out Beyonce‘s “Freedom”. She captioned the video, “What an honor. #blacklivesmatter #defundthepolice #prosecutekillercops. Amber has protested tirelessly in Los Angeles, including rallying outside LA Mayor Eric Garcetti‘s house with other activists.
Insecure and How To Get Away With Murder star Kendrick Sampson, 32, took to Instagram on June 7 to share a powerful video from the Black Lives Matter rally in Hollywood. The video showed thousands upon thousands of protesters crammed into Hollywood Boulevard, as they chanted and raised their signs into the air. He captioned it, “#DefundthePolice We are winning! Keep up the fight!”
John, 41, shared that he signed the Movement For Black Lives letter with his fans on June 2. “I signed on to #DefendBlackLives and to push to #DefundThePolice,” he wrote as the caption on the post, which outlined some of the demands from protesters, including “an end to the war against Black people,” and “an immediate relief for our communities.” He implored his fans to join the cause alongside him.
Tessa Thompson, 36, shared a lengthy video from one of the Los Angeles protests to Instagram on June 2. In the video, a man stands in front of an enraptured crowd, as he tells them that “the LAPD and LA Sheriff’s Department are the two most murderous departments in the entire country, year after year. You can watch his 40-minute speech above. Tessa captioned her post, “Felt like shouting this Tuesday. Right here, on indigenous land — on the doorsteps of the house our tax dollars pay for. #DEFUNDTHEPOLICE @mayorofla”.
“In my home city of Los Angeles, 54% of the city’s budget goes to police! OVER HALF!!! I can’t even find ‘education resources’ on the Mayor’s budget pie,” America Ferrera, 36, wrote on Instagram on June 3. “A healthy society is not built on policing! We need healthcare, education, jobs and social services! If you’re not enraged by this than you’re not paying attention.” She asked her fans to join her in signing the Movement For Black Lives letter to #DefundThePolice, as well.
Protesting is old hat for Jane, who has spent the majority of her life as a passionate activist. The Grace and Frankie star, 80, pulled double duty on Instagram by telling her fans why they need to defund the police, at the same time as reminding them it’s almost Fire Drill Friday. She’s taken a break from getting arrested on the Capitol steps every weekend due to coronavirus concerns, but she’s still fighting for climate change action from home.