Actor and activist Jesse Williams gave a fiery speech at the BET Awards.

Actor and activist Jesse Williams gave a fiery speech at the BET Awards. – Williams, who’s known to be refreshingly blunt, pulled no punches on stage. After thanking his parents and wife, he gave a barnburner of a speech about systemic racism and oppression, ranging from police brutality to capitalism to cultural appropriation, with a little aside about the promises of the hereafter that would have made Joe Hill proud. It’s worth watching in full, but here are some of the highlights:

What we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm, and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country, or we will restructure their function in ours. … Yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday. So I don’t want to hear any more 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 it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Darrien Hunt.

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