UPDATED: Beyonce has added her voice to the many speaking out against the recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, releasing a powerful statement on her website urging others to take a stand.
“We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities,” begins the statement released Thursday on Beyonce’s website. “It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they ‘stop killing us.'”
The deaths of both Sterling and Castile have launched a series of protests, fueling the fire of the ongoing debate of the police’s treatment of black men. Cell phone footage saw 37-year-old Sterling shot and killed by two Baton Rouge, La., police officers after pinning him to the ground outside of a local convenience store early Tuesday. The death has spurred a civil rights investigation by the Justice Department.
Castile, 32, was killed after a police officer opened fire on him during a traffic stop in Minnesota on Wednesday night. The aftermath of the death was shown in a Facebook Live video shot by Castile’s girlfriend, who was a passenger in the vehicle.
“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,” reads Beyonce’s statement. “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,” she adds. “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.”
She follows the statement with a call to action, urging readers to contact their local congressman or woman and providing links to voice protests to the deaths of Sterling and Castile.
It’s not the first time Beyonce has spoken out on the issue. Her video for “Formation,” which dropped earlier this year, depicts images such as a submerged police car and the phrase “Stop shooting us” painted on a wall.
The video ignited controversy, with many calling the singer anti-police. “I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of the officers who sacrifice themselves to keeps us safe,” she later told Elle magazine of the controversy. “But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things.”
See the full statement below.
Beyonce also led a moment of silence for those who have been killed by police at her Glasgow concert as part of her Formation World Tour on Thursday. Attendees posted pictures of the moment on Twitter, showing a large screen that broadcast the names of dozens of victims, including Sterling and Castile, as well as others such as Freddie Gray, Tamir E. Rice and Eric Garner.