This week, vegan actress Natalie Portman took to Instagram to voice her support for defunding the police as a measure to prevent police violence against Black people. “When I first heard #defundthepolice, I have to admit my first reaction was fear,” Portman said. “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. Police are the sixth leading cause of death for Black men in this country.”

 
 
 
 
 
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When I first heard #defundthepolice, I have to admit my first reaction was fear. 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. 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. Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered, is one of the most progressive police forces in the country, having undergone extensive anti-bias training. I am grateful to the leaders in the @mvmnt4blklives who have made us question the status quo. And 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. I’ve gotten to the age in my life, where if my gut feels uncomfortable, I take the situation as wrong. But this concept initially made me uncomfortable because I was wrong. Because the system that makes me feel comfortable is wrong. #defendblacklives#defundthepolice Swipe right for additional resources via @theslacktivists

A post shared by Natalie Portman (@natalieportman) on

Portman explained that solving the underlying issues with the police force in the United States requires more than procedural reforms such as implicit bias training. “Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered, is one of the most progressive police forces in the country, having undergone extensive anti-bias training,” Portman said. “I am grateful to the leaders in the Movement for Black Lives who have made us question the status quo. And 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.”

Portman’s Instagram post also included an explanation of how defunding the police would allow for investment in Black communities and specialized first responders such as mental health professionals while reducing police presence in communities of color and demilitarizing officers to reduce incidents of police violence. “I’ve gotten to the age in my life, where if my gut feels uncomfortable, I take the situation as wrong,” Portman said. “But this concept [of defunding the police] initially made me uncomfortable because I was wrong. Because the system that makes me feel comfortable is wrong.”

For her birthday on June 9, Portman pledged to match up to $100,000 in donations to A New Way of Life—a nonprofit founded by social-justice activist Susan Burton which helps women break the cycle of entrapment in the criminal justice system.

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