Natalie Portman has backed the “defund the police” campaign.
The actress is among a roll call of stars, including John Legend, Lizzo, Common, and Jane Fonda who have signed Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder Patrisse Cullors’ letter urging local governments to ‘defund’ police departments and give more to healthcare and education.
In a post on Instagram, the actress shared her first reaction to the campaign was “fear”, but she soon realised it was because she’d had a different experience with the police to her black friends.
“My whole life, police have made me feel safe. But that’s exactly the center of my white privilege: the police make me as a white woman feel safe, while my black friends, family and neighbors feel the opposite: police make them feel terror. And for good reason,” the Black Swan actress explained.
While Portman admitted she generally acts on her instincts, this time, she realised she had to go against them.
“I’ve gotten to the age in my life, where if my gut feels uncomfortable, I take the situation as wrong,” she continued. “But this concept initially made me uncomfortable because I was wrong. Because the system that makes me feel comfortable is wrong.”
She continued, “Police are the 6th leading cause of death for black men in this country. These are not isolated incidents. They are patterns and part of the system of over-policing of black Americans. Reforms have not worked.”
The mother of two went on to share her gratitude for BLM leaders “who have made us imagine, what a world could be like in which we invested in nourishing people; (in their education, healthcare, environment, shelter)- rather than putting all of our money into punishment.”
America Ferrera, Brie Larson, Taraji P. Henson, and The Weeknd have also added their names to Cullors’ letter calling for a reduction in the $194 billion (£156 billion) given over to U.S. policing and more money being made available to hospitals and medical centres amid the Covid-19 pandemic.