The ad was signed by George Floyd's attorneys, as well as parents of black men who were killed by police

By Gabrielle Chung
Updated June 02, 2020 07:50 PM
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JAY-Z and the Roc Nation family have taken out multiple full-page ads in newspapers across the United States in honor of George Floyd, whose death while in Minneapolis police custody has sparked nationwide protests over racial injustice.

The ad, which was shared on Roc Nation's social media pages, quotes a passage from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's 1965 address in Selma, Alabama.

"Only way we can really achieve freedom is to somehow hunker the fear of death. But if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live," the ad reads. "Deep down in our nonviolent creed is the conviction — that there are some things so dear, so things so precious, so things so eternally true, that they are worth dying for."

JAY-Z
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"A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right,” it continues. “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true. So we’re going to stand up amid horses. We’re going to stand up right here, amid the billy-clubs. We’re going to stand up right here amid police dogs, if they have them. We’re going to stand up amid tear gas!"

The ad was signed by JAY-Z, 50, as well as several advocacy organizations such as the The Innocence Project, Until Freedom and the Women’s Global Initiative. Signees also included Floyd's attorneys and the parents of Botham Jean, DJ Henry and Antwon Rose II — three black men who were killed by police.

"In dedication to George Floyd," Roc Nation captioned note on social media, alongside the hashtags "#BlackLivesMatter" and "#JusticeforGeorgeFloyd."

The letter was printed in newspapers such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Philadelphia Enquirer on Tuesday, with more ads to come in Wednesday's edition, according to CNN.

The ad comes just days after JAY-Z spoke about Floyd's death in a phone call with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. He confirmed the details in a statement released by Roc Nation's Instagram on Sunday.

JAY-Z
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"After our earnest conversation, thank you to Governor Walz for doing what's right and calling in Attorney General Keith Ellison to take over the George Floyd case. Earlier today, Governor Walz mentioned having a human conversation with me. A dad and a black man in pain. Yes, I am human, a father and a black man in pain and I am not the only one. Now I, along with an entire country in pain, call upon AG Ellison to do the right thing and prosecute all those responsible for the murder of George Floyd to the fullest extent of the law," the rapper said.

"This is just a first step. I am more determined to fight for justice than any fight my would-be oppressors may have. I prevail on every politician, prosecutor and office in the country to have the courage to do what is right. Have the courage to look at us as humans, dads, brothers, sisters and mothers in pain and look at yourselves," he added.

RELATED VIDEO: George Floyd's Death Was a Homicide, Says Medical Examiner in Latest Report

Walz also confirmed he spoke with JAY-Z and shared details of the conversation in an interview with WCCO.

"I received a call [Saturday] night — to understand how big this was — from JAY-Z,” Walz said. “Not international performer, but dad stressing to me that justice needs to be served. It was so incredibly human. … It was a dad, and I think quite honestly a black man whose visceral pain of this that he knew. His words summarized that justice needs to be served here."

"He said he feels the compassion and the humanity of these folks who are speaking," Walz continued. "He knows the world is watching, and how Minnesota handles this is going to have an impact across the country. It’s a positive sign that someone of a stature, that has a presence like that, is focused in the moment of what Minnesotans are focused on."

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.