Yara Shahidi Shared a Vital Speech on Gun Violence and Police Brutality

"How dare you kill my family," she wrote on Instagram.

(Image credit: Jerod Harris)

Actor and activist Yara Shahidi is often described as the voice of Generation Z—and a speech she shared on social media exemplified just how vital her voice is. Posted in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend, which resulting in at least 22 and 9 deaths respectively, Shahidi called for the dissolution of white supremacy and for our elected officials to be held accountable.

In the speech, she referred to the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a Cleveland police officer in 2014 (a police officer who never faced charges for shooting Tamir, and was hired last year by an Ohio police force), as well as the murder of Nipsey Hussle in Los Angeles in April.

"When we talk about Tamir Rice, which is something that makes me really emotional every time we talk about it, but, I see that and like, 'How dare you kill my brother?' You see the murder of Nipsey Hussle and it’s like, 'How dare you kill my prophets?'" Shahidi said in the clip.

"And it has everything to do with how we feel placed in this world, and to see other people’s lack of care is world-shifting—but it’s also very inspirational because it reminds me of why we do this work, and why you have to advocate for something more than yourself," she said.

"How dare you kill my family," Shahidi captioned the video. "I’ve been at a loss for words in light of the tragic loss of life in El Paso and Dayton. All I can say is: HOW DARE YOU KILL MY FAMILY. She continued, "we must continue to hold our elected officials accountable, we must hold each other accountable to carry with us and live in the legacies of everyone who is no longer with us."

Shahidi finished, "we must reinstate a sense of care by disassembling the white supremacy that has been allowed to run rampant in the USA since our inception."

In the comments, a host of celebrities celebrated Shahidi's words: Zendaya and Amanda Seales posted heart emojis, while Kendrick Sampson wrote, "How dare you kill our family. I’m right here with ya. Disrupt. Dismantle. And Build the caring world our communities deserve." Chloe x Halle commented, "love you so much," and Billy Porter wrote, "It's time!"

Tracee Ellis Ross shared her Black-ish co-star's clip on Instagram. "THANK YOU YARA," she captioned it, "for your heart and your willingness to speak the hurt and to name the action." And Zoë Kravitz shared the sentiment. "love her," she commented on Ross's post. "beautiful bright spirit. thank you sis."

Emily Dixon
Morning Editor

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.