Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys assembled dozens of celebrities to stand in solidarity with the victims of institutional racism.
In the video 23 Ways to Be Killed If You’re Black in America, part of Keys’ “We Are Here” movement, musicians, actors, and comedians including Beyoncé, Pharrell, Queen Latifah, Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, Lenny Kravitz, and Bono cite 23 different incidents in which black lives were ended for frivolous reasons—namely at the hands of law enforcement.
The video was released a week after the senseless murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota, respectively. Sterling was shot point-blank by officers after he was detained for selling CDs outside of a grocery store, and Castile was shot dead in his car after reaching in his pocket for his ID after the officer’s instructions. Both deaths were referenced in the video.
The various reasons for many senseless deaths included “wearing a hoodie” (in reference to Trayvon Martin); “selling cigarettes outside of a corner store” (Eric Garner); “making eye contact” (Freddie Gray), and “calling for help after an accident” (Renisha McBride).
“The time for change is now,” says Keys in the video clip. “We demand radical transformation to heal the long history of systemic racism so that all Americans have the equal right to live and pursue happiness.”
The video is also tied to We Are Here’s “Moonshoot” petition urging President Obama and Congress to allocate $150 billion for poor communities in the United States, in order to end the institutional racism that has harmed people of color for centuries. The petition calls for these funds to help provide access to healthcare, equal education, housing, job training, nutrition, and reform of the Criminal Justice System over the next 10 years.