After Trayvon Martin, after Michael Brown, after Eric Garner and Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray, today's grieving comes with a sense of exhaustion. How many more times will the name of a black American become a hashtag after he or she is murdered by the police? How many more times do we have to argue that black lives matter?
After the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile this week, many have said that anger and sadness isn't enough. There have been calls to organize, to take to the streets in protest, to make these angry voices heard where it can make the most impact. Alongside activists, many prominent figures in the entertainment industry have denounced the painfully clear, yet bewilderingly unaddressed problem of policing in America.
On Thursday, Beyoncé, who this year has been more vocal about her blackness than ever, joined the fray.
On the homepage of her website, Beyoncé posted a statement in all caps about Sterling and Castile:
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.
But more so than a statement decrying senseless police brutality, Beyoncé's note was a firm call to action.
"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 in to protect us should consistently go unpunished," the statement read. "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. Fear is not an excuse. Hate will not win. We all have the power to channel our anger and frustration into action."
With the release of her powerful music video for Formation earlier this year, Beyoncé has readily entered the discussion about race and racial policing in America — much to many a (white) critic's dismay. Though she's never quite been so vocal about it until this year, Queen Bey has used her music to send clear messages about racial injustice in the past, too.
"While we pray for the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile," the statement went on, "we will also pray for an end to this plague of injustice in our communities."