The rapper asks for black lives to stop being "reduced to a hashtag."
The death of Alton Sterling is the latest tragedy to spark outrage on police brutality and racial disparity in the U.S.
In case you haven’t heard, Baton Rouge police responded to an anonymous call about a man selling CDs who had pointed a gun at someone. The victim, Alton Sterling, matched the description as he was selling CDs and was wearing a red shirt.
Upon arriving, the officers yelled at Sterling to get on the ground. Footage (below) reveals the officers pinning Sterling on his back, then one yells “He’s got a gun!” What happened next has outraged civilians all around the world.
Within seconds, one officer opened fire, even though Sterling looked completely pinned down and immobile. An unclear object was then pulled out of the 37-year-old man’s right pants pocket, and Sterling was pronounced dead shortly after.
Warning: graphic footage of a police shooting:
As VOX reports, this incident reminds heavily of the 2014 Michael Ferguson shooting in 2014. In the years that have passed, racial tension has only increased. Sadly, recent attacks have done nothing to help remedy this.
Hundreds of thousands have been shaken by the incident, but perhaps no one has summarized what most people are feeling about the issue better than Drake, a Toronto-based music artist.
The rapper posted the following open letter on Instagram to his 25 million followers, and it’s already been liked over 60,000 times. He said he felt “disheartened, emotional, and truly scared” after watching the video of Sterling’s final moments. And, he’s not alone.
“I am grateful to be able to call America my second home. Last night when I saw the video of Alton Sterling being killed it left me disheartened, emotional, and truly scared. I woke up this morning with a strong need to say something.
It’s impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago. No one begins their life as a hashtag. Yet the trend of being reduced to one continues.
This is real and I’m concerned. Concerned for the safety of my family, my friends, and any human being that could fall victim to this pattern. I do not know the answer. But I believe things can change for the better. Open and honest dialogue is the first step.
My thoughts and prayers are with the Sterling family and any family that has lost someone to this cycle of violence.
Be safe out there. More life.”
Drake called for Americans to have “open and honest dialogue” about improving the relationship between the African-American community and law enforcement agencies. He also asked for a stop to black lives being “reduced to a hashtag,” reports UsUncut.
If you’re appalled by Sterling’s death, please share this news and comment your thoughts below!
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