Cheers to Jesse Williams

Debra Sweet | July 5, 2016

Sunday night Jesse Williams (Dr. Jackson Avery on Grey's Anatomy) delivered a powerful acceptance speech to the BET's Humanitarian Award.

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Over the past couple years Williams has participated in various Black Lives Matters protests including in Ferguson after the murder of Michael Brown. Last month he starred in and produced in a BET documentary Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement.The nearly five minute speech powerfully condemned this system. Early on his speech Williams stated, "a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. "He poetically delivered an indictment against the system of police terror and repression saying,

"Yesterday would’ve been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday, so I don’t want to hear anymore about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on a 12-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better to live in 2012 than 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Darrien Hunt...The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job, all right, stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down."

We applaud his courage to stand up to police terror and repression, to challenge his peers to use their influence to celebrate and defend black lives, and take racism to task.