On Sunday night, a white man stabbed two young black women on the Bay Area Rapid Transit in Oakland, killing 18-year-old Nia Wilson and injuring her sister, Lahtifa, 26. The suspect was arrested on Tuesday. The murder was immediately interpreted as a racist act, and activists and celebrities alike took to social media to raise awareness of the dangers black women face while just being out in public.
On Wednesday, Anne Hathaway, Oscar winner and the single greatest part of Ocean’s 8, did the same with a particularly powerful post calling on white people—including herself—to examine their privileges and reflect on how they can effect social change.
"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," Hathaway wrote. "She is not a hashtag; she was a black woman and she was murdered in cold blood by a white man."
Hathaway continued, arguing white people must understand and acknowledge that, in America, “all black people fear for their lives DAILY...and have done so for GENERATIONS.” She added, “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?," she continued. "Not in our intent, but in our actions? In our lack of action?"
Hathaway’s words are important because they are a way for the actress to leverage the fame and following she has achieved for a higher cause. Her willingness to stake out a position in support of black lives and to call out white privilege indicates self-awareness and, more importantly, solidarity.
Hathaway is no stranger to fighting for what’s right on Instagram. Back in April, she announced she was gaining weight for an upcoming movie role and preemptively gave the inevitable trolls a message: "To all the people who are going to fat shame me in the upcoming months, it’s not me, it’s you."