The actress Anne Hathaway called out white privilege in a thoughtful Instagram post that shone a spotlight on the tragic murder of Nia Wilson.
Wilson, 18, was viciously stabbed by a white man on Sunday while in a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train station in Oakland, California. Her other sister, 26-year-old Letifah, survived.
BART police identified 27-year-old John Lee Cowell from surveillance videos in the station, and he was arrested Monday evening.
The Oscar-winning actress dedicated an Instagram post to Wilson’s murder, calling the incident “unspeakable.”
“The murder of Nia Wilson- may she rest in the power and peace she was denied here- is unspeakable AND MUST NOT be met with silence,” she wrote. “She is not a hash tag; she was a black woman and she was murdered in cold blood by a white man.”
But the post took a surprising turn from a mere tribute to a call to action when she called on other white people to check their privilege following such an incident.
“White people- including me, including you- must take into the marrow of our privileged bones the truth that ALL black people fear for their lives DAILY in America and have done so for GENERATIONS. White people DO NOT have equivalence for this fear of violence. Given those givens, we must ask our (white)selves- how ‘decent’ are we really? Not in our intent, but in our actions? In our lack of action? “
She finished: “Peace and prayers and JUSTICE for Nia and the Wilson family.”
Many took to Twitter to praise Hathaway for her courage and allyship.
Over 1,000 people gathered on Tuesday to mourn Wilson’s killing in a vigil that turned into a protest.