"We need respect for our lives"
As the country is still in the recovery position, celebrity figureheads have taken the opportunity to use their positioning to continue to highlight the issues behind the shootings themselves, even though most of these reactions took place before the death of five police officers at the Black Lives Matter rally in Texas last night.
Taking to her official website, Beyonce released a statement:
We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities. 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. We’re going 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. 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. This is not a plea to all police officers but toward any human being who fails to value life. The war on people of color and minorities needs to be over. Fear is not an excuse. Hate will not win. We all have the power to channel our anger and frustration into action. We must use our voices to contact the politicians and legislators in our districts and demand social and judicial changes. 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. Click in to contact the politicians and legislators in your area and your voice will be heard.
Her husband Jay-Z released a new song, titled "Spiritual", in the wake of the shootings:
He also release a statement along with the song:
I made this song a while ago, I never got to finish it. Punch (TDE) told me I should drop it when Mike Brown died, sadly I told him, “this issue will always be relevant.” I’m hurt that I knew his death wouldn’t be the last…… I’m saddened and disappointed in THIS America – we should be further along. WE ARE NOT. I trust God and know everything that happens is for our greatest good, but man…. it’s tough right now. Blessings to all the families that have lost loved ones to police brutality.
Macklemore took to Instagram having seen the footage of the shooting of Alton Sterling, to stress that more white people need to care about police brutality:
How many more murders of black people by police before we hold our system and those that enforce it accountable? The footage of Alton Sterling being murdered by a police officer is equal parts horrific, infuriating and devastating. How many times can we watch a family at a press conference in hysterics over the killing of their loved one? Murdered by those that have been assigned to protect us. What do we do in times like these? It's a question for everyone, but specifically white people. The systematic oppression that enables a murder like this, will be corrected once white people care enough to change it. Alton Sterling didn't create this problem. This is hundreds of years of conditioning. We have been told our entire lives that people that look like Alton Sterling, selling CD's outside of a store, are a threat to our society. The news, TV, movies, jails, history books, schools and our laws all uphold this false belief. A person isn't born fearing someone because of the color of their skin. This fear is taught, crafted and instilled in the fabric of our American lives. And although we make strides and progress is measurable at times, I can't help but think....If I was put in the exact same situation that Alton was in, I would be alive today...Because of the color of my skin. And he's dead because of his. I often don't know what to do during these moments. It becomes easier to vent on social media than to take direct action. Here's a couple things I've gotten hip to in the last 2 years. 1: Financially support black led organizations. Put your resources behind people of color that are at the forefront of the movement 2: Do a People's Institute "Undoing racism" training. One of the most eye opening and important tools to understanding our past in relation to the work that needs to be done. The website is http://www.pisab.org 3: Have conversations about race. In real life. With people that look like you and people that don't. RIP #altonsterling
A photo posted by Ben Haggerty (@macklemore) on
Rapper Killer Mike of Run The Jewels was interviewed on Hot 107.9, and his emotional reaction to the shootings, and his opinion represents the reaction of many within the rap and hip-hop community, including Game, Meek Mill and Fabolous.
President Obama took to Facebook to post his personal thoughts and feelings on the issue:
All Americans should be deeply troubled by the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. We've seen such tragedies far too many times, and our hearts go out to the families and communities who've suffered such a painful loss.
Although I am constrained in commenting on the particular facts of these cases, I am encouraged that the U.S. Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation in Baton Rouge, and I have full confidence in their professionalism and their ability to conduct a thoughtful, thorough, and fair inquiry.
But regardless of the outcome of such investigations, what's clear is that these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents. They are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system, the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve.
To admit we've got a serious problem in no way contradicts our respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers who put their lives on the line to protect us every single day. It is to say that, as a nation, we can and must do better to institute the best practices that reduce the appearance or reality of racial bias in law enforcement.
That's why, two years ago, I set up a Task Force on 21st Century Policing that convened police officers, community leaders, and activists. Together, they came up with detailed recommendations on how to improve community policing. So even as officials continue to look into this week's tragic shootings, we also need communities to address the underlying fissures that lead to these incidents, and to implement those ideas that can make a difference. That's how we'll keep our communities safe. And that's how we can start restoring confidence that all people in this great nation are equal before the law.
In the meantime, all Americans should recognize the anger, frustration, and grief that so many Americans are feeling -- feelings that are being expressed in peaceful protests and vigils. Michelle and I share those feelings. Rather than fall into a predictable pattern of division and political posturing, let's reflect on what we can do better. Let's come together as a nation, and keep faith with one another, in order to ensure a future where all of our children know that their lives matter.
Trevor Noah of The Daily Show was tasked with the difficult job of taking the shootings and molding them into an entertaining segment, complete with a number of jokes:
But perhaps the most powerful video of all comes from an actual police officer. Nakia Jones live-streamed on Facebook on Thursday following the death of Sterling and released her rage against her fellow officers. The Cleveland, Ohio officer advised her fellow officers to take off their uniform and put on a KKK hoodie instead.