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Appearing on Wednesday’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Regina King shared how the protests across the country inspired her to educate herself.
“Everything has been super heavy,” she said regarding the protests that began following the death of George Floyd while in police custody. “I’ve finally gotten to a place where I’m clear as to what it is that I need to do to make changes.”
“I’m just convinced that the only way we’re going to change is to get out and vote, and not just in the presidential elections, but on the local levels,” she said. “That means voting every year.”
She added that the protests “inspired” her to start educating herself and speaking to her friends about racial injustice and police brutality. “Just giving myself civics education of finding out who candidates are, who can actually change policies,” she said. “I feel like the only way we can make changes to the systemic problems is to make systematic changes, and that’s change the laws. And to change the laws, we have to change the lawmakers.”
King also reflected on teaching her 24-year-old son about how he should deal with the police as a black man.
“I think in most homes, black homes, it’s not just a conversation. It’s an ongoing conversation,” she said.
King added that “the conversation shifts” every time there’s a new story about police brutality because “you have to find a way to support their feelings and make sure that you are letting them know that you hear them and that you do mirror the same sentiment, but you don’t want them to do anything that’s going to put themselves in a situation that they may not come back home.”
The actress said her conversations with her son became “deeper” while President Barack Obama, who she campaigned for, was running for his first term in office. “Your kids are seeing what you do, so the passion that I was having behind there, I think that’s what was making his comprehension with the conversations deeper,” she said.
“It really hit home, I think, when he was learning to drive,” she said. “That’s when the conversation shifts again because you kind of have to make them very clear about what they’re supposed to do when they’re out in that car by themselves and are more than likely going to get pulled over just cause you’re a young black man.”
King reflected on how teaching her son about cops differs from how her white friends taught their children. She recalled a conversation with a white friend who had never before realized how different their experiences were. “When I was telling her about it, and it just never even dawned on her. And the reality that she doesn’t have to have that same conversation,” King said. “It brought a lot of stuff up for her.”
“The protesting that’s happening is necessary,” King said earlier in the appearance. “Probably the most recent charges that just came up against the other three officers would not have happened without the protest.”
Despite the good that has come from the protests, King said the fight is not over. “We have officers in Louisville who have not been charged for Breonna Taylor’s murder, and there are so many other cases like that,” she said. Taylor was shot to death in her own home by police officers in March.
Watch King’s full appearance below.
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