Entertainment Music Selena Gomez Thanks the 'Inspiring' Black Leaders Who Took over Her Instagram for 2 Weeks The star, who has 180 million followers, turned the keys over to 12 influential voices from the black community By Aurelie Corinthios Published on June 19, 2020 12:27 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Selena Gomez. Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic After handing over her Instagram to several leaders from the black community for the past two weeks, Selena Gomez regained control of her account on Thursday. The singer thanked the 12 individuals for their time in a lengthy post, urging her 180 million followers to continue educating themselves and vote. "I want to thank all of the amazing people that took the time to speak to us directly," she began. "I am blown away with your knowledge, eagerness to teach and commitment to ensuring Black voices are not silenced. Educating ourselves is the first step if we hope to make any progress in bringing an end to systemic racism. As much as one might want to believe things have gotten better we cannot deny any longer that they have not." "We need to acknowledge that social, political and economic discrimination against Black communities continues to exist," she continued. "There is a deep pain that needs to be healed. Unless this is recognized history will continue to repeat itself over and over." Amid nationwide protests over police brutality and systemic racism sparked by the death of George Floyd, Gomez, 27, decided earlier this month to use her platform to amplify black voices. She announced on June 4 that she would be highlighting influential leaders and giving them a chance to take over her Instagram. Since then, Gomez has turned the keys over to Alicia Garza, one of the co-creators of Black Lives Matter; Jelani Cobb, a writer, author, and professor; Kimberlé Crenshaw, a civil rights advocate, lawyer and professor; Sarah Elizabeth Lewis, an author and professor; Ibram X. Kendi, a historian of racism and author; Michael Render (a.k.a. Killer Mike), an activist and Grammy Award-winning rapper; Nelini Stamp, the director of strategy for Working Families; Kendrick Sampson, an actor and activist; Raquel Willis, an activist and media strategist; Ruby Bridges, a civil rights activist and author; Brittany Packnett Cunnigham, an educator, organizer and writer; and Stacey Abrams of Georgia, the first black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States. All of their conversations remain available to view on Gomez's Instagram Story highlights. Why 2020's Juneteenth Celebration 'Represents More' Than in Past Years, NAACP & BLM Activists Say In her post on Thursday, Gomez asked her followers to become informed about Juneteenth, the day that marks the end of slavery and the independence of countless enslaved people, two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. In honor of the holiday on Friday, Gomez encouraged her fans to "take the day to have conversations with your family and friends about the importance of Black Lives Matter and how we all need to join together to ensure equality and justice." "Everyone needs to have their voices heard and we can do that by VOTING!" she continued. "We will not let voter suppression stop us! Check out @whenweallvote to get registered and find other helpful resources." Finally, Gomez thanked her fans to taking the time to absorb the information provided on her account this month. "It's not lost on me how fortunate I am to have this platform and appreciate you all for taking the time to watch, listen and take in the powerful messages and information we've been provided over the last two weeks by some of the most inspiring people I've come across in my life," she wrote. "If you missed any of these incredible IG stories they are all saved in my Story Highlights under #BLM and #BLM2. This is just the beginning and we will continue to hear from other Black voices and as well as other marginalized communities I am committed to doing the work and I hope you join me." 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.