Though we’ve been faced with many sickening, heartbreaking acts of hate and violence in the past year, including the Manchester bombing, perhaps none hit so close to home as the white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally that took place yesterday in Charlottesville, Virginia. The incident ultimately left three dead — two police officers who were killed when the helicopter they were monitoring the situation from crashed, and Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman who was struck by a car that plowed into a crowd full of people following their gathering — with 19 more injured.
As we struggle to understand yesterday’s events and to begin the long, arduous process of healing, celebrities are sharing words of comfort, wisdom, and outrage with the rest of us. Read on to see what they had to say.
1. Sarah Michelle Gellar: Sarah Michelle Gellar chose this quote from Maya Angelou to express her feelings, adding, “No caption needed.”
2. Yara Shahidi: Blackish star Yara Shahidi posted this now famous photo by Jonathan Bachmann of a young black woman standing peacefully in the street as police officers in riot gear apprehend her during an earlier protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “Protest should be used to perpetuate progressive politics of universal equity/love/acceptance. The picture above is one of protest. What’s happening in Charlottesville isn’t protest. It’s the manifestation of hate and modern terrorism. It’s the unveiling of the insidious racism that is allowed to prosper in our society.”
3. Chelsea Handler: The Netflix host called upon all of us to reflect after yesterday’s acts of hatred, writing, “We all have to do better. Forward not backward.”
4. Zendaya: The Walk the Prank star denounced the rally as terrorism, saying, “I really don’t know what to say… but this is terrorism. This is America TODAY… not 40 years ago.”
5. Paris Jackson: Jackson pointed out the differences in how protests in Baton Rouge, Louisiana were handled in comparison to Charlottesville, Virginia.
6. Reese Witherspoon: Poet and artist Cleo Wade gave inspiration to Draper James CEO Witherspoon, who posted the former’s elegant words of “Hate is a shortcut. Love is the long way. But it is the only road that will really get you anywhere.”
7. Barack Obama: Former President Barack Obama offered some wise words of wisdom from Nelson Mandela in a three-part Tweet that was liked more than 1.6 million times. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion,” the first read. “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love… for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” No truer words were ever spoken.
8. Tia Mowry: One half of our favorite twin pair shared Obama’s sentiments, captioning this sweet snap of two children happily standing side by side with the same words.
9. Diane Guerrero: The OITNB star quoted Malcom X, who said, “When ‘I’ is replaced with ‘we,’ even illness becomes wellness.”
10. Olivia Wilde: Broadway’s 1984 star Wilde gave a nod to her mother, Leslie Cockburn (who just so happens to be running for Congress in Virginia), by sharing her message to fight the hate by supporting minority-owned businesses and charities and speaking out on their behalf.
11. Elizabeth Banks: Banks had a new piece of jewelry in light of yesterday’s sentiments: a single gold Eriness Jewelry statement piece reading “Resist,” ($425 to $750), for which 20 percent of all proceeds go to Planned Parenthood.
12. Jessica Alba: Also borrowing the words of poet Cleo Wade was Alba, along with The Real host Adrienne Bailon, Leanne Rimes, and Kate Upton, who all posted this reminder to use the “appalling hate of others” as fuel to “step more deeply into your work as a warrior of love, justice, and freedom.” Using Wade’s caption, which quotes MLK, she added, “#MLK said it best when he said: ‘We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.’ Racism and bigotry does not merely exist on the faces of the terrorists marching in #charlottesville. We all know people who have said or done something that is wrong while we have remained silent or tried to justify it because of the other person’s background, age, or by saying, ‘well they aren’t THAT racist.’ Enough is enough. Start with you. Let your voice be the one that changes the people around you. Start today. Be a truth teller. Speak truth to power. Be a freedom fighter. Fight the good fight. I love you.”
13. Jennifer Lopez: Like many, the Ni Tu Ni Yo singer reposted the powerful speech made by Virigina Governor Terry McAuliffe yesterday as he told rally participants to “go home,” and gave them a clear and purposeful message: “We are stronger than you. You have made our commonwealth stronger.”
14. Kristen Bell: Bell shared this photo from @joshgad, who wrote, “Everything you need to know in one image” on a snap of a calm black officer standing guard as white supremacists rally behind him.
15. Lorde: Lorde apologized on behalf of all people of non-color, saying, “We have to do better. I’m sorry.”
16. Mahershala Ali: The Oscar-winning actor simply posted a photo of Martin Luther King Jr. being arrested to make his point.
17. Miley Cyrus: Cyrus remembered victim Heather Heyer in her post, saying, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention… Sending love to all and healing to those injured!”
18. Demi Lovato: The “Sorry Not Sorry” singer added her own thoughts to the mix, writing, “With everything that’s going on, it’s so easy to look the other way and say, ‘I don’t want to watch the news, it’s too negative,’ or dismiss what’s going on in our country because it’s too scary to actually be true. But it is. Violence and hate is overwhelming our country today and it’s time that this generation changes that. Black, Muslim, gay, bisexual, trans, ect. you are perfect the way you are and you ARE LOVED. Do not listen to evil no matter how loud it gets. I am with you during this time and things will change.”
What are you doing to process yesterday’s horrifying and tragic incidents? Tell us over @BritandCo.
(Photo via Frazer Harrison/Getty)