#ITakeResponsibility, launched by Confluential Content in partnership with NAACP, encourages white people to commit to supporting black lives

By Robyn Merrett
June 11, 2020 10:30 AM
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Kristen Bell, Kesha, Sarah Paulson and more stars are using their voices to stand up against racism in a new campaign launched by entertainment production company Confluential Content, in partnership with the NAACP.

The campaign, titled #ITakeResponsibility, launched on Thursday. Created in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, it encourages white Americans to "call out hate, step up and take action to help turn the tide of systemic racism in this country."

In a somber, black-and-white PSA for the initiative, a number of stars pledge their support to the cause and admit to their shortcomings when it comes to speaking out about racism and discrimination.

"I take responsibility," begins Paulson, 45.

"I take responsibility," continues Aaron Paul, 40, followed by Kesha, 33.

Bell, 39, with her hand over her heart, says she's taking responsibility for "every time it was easier to ignore than to call it out for what it was."

"Every not so funny joke, every unfair stereotype," continues Justin Theroux, 48.

"Every blatant injustice, no matter how big or small," says Debra Messing, 51.

"I take responsibility," vows Julianne More, 59. "Black people are being slaughtered in the street, killed in their own homes. These are our brothers and sisters."

Kristen Bell, Kesha and Sarah Paulson

The PSA also features Aly Raisman, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ilana Glazer, Mark Duplass, Piper Perabo and Stanley Tucci.

The clip ends with Paul, 40, urging viewers to take action, directing them to the campaign's website where they can learn more about issues affecting the black community.

Actions also include donating to the NAACP, demanding police accountability by supporting Campaign Zero, supporting protestors through the Bail Project as well as providing support for grassroots organizations such as: The Black Visions Collective Movement, Reclaim the Block, The Know Your Rights Camp, The Gathering for Justice, Bld Pwr and Black Lives Matter.

Participants can also donate to the families of Floyd, Taylor and Arbery.

"The entire country has reached its limit and we cannot allow one more Black person to die at the hands of government," Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, tells PEOPLE. "Systematic racial discrimination continues to permeate society and in order for us to get to a better place as a country, it will take all of us to come together and do better. We have a unique opportunity to open up dialogue, encourage white people, especially those with an extensive platform, to hold themselves accountable, listen and learn."

Confluential Content CEO Tommy Oliver said in statement: "The idea of my three young, black boys someday inheriting the world we currently live in is an utterly terrifying prospect. Now multiply that by all of the little black boys and little black girls in this country who deserve a future free from oppression and excessive force. Is a PSA going to get us there? Absolutely not, but does the idea of taking responsibility have the ability to change the conversation? To shift one's perspective? I'd like to hope so... and especially when coupled with strong calls to action and a commitment to not let this turn into a flash in the pan. We all have to do better. And that decision starts today."

"I cannot sit idly by while this horrific moment in history plays out on our doorsteps, on our streets and on our televisions. I’ve heard profound words past and present, from Toni Morrison to Rihanna, wondering where their white friends are in times of need. This may be the most consequential moment in our lives and we must take action," added Adam Platzner, partner at Confluential Content.

RELATED VIDEO: At George Floyd Memorial, Brother Says: 'Everybody Wants Justice for George. He's Going to Get It'

The campaign comes after Floyd, who died on May 25 after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee to Floyd's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, was laid to rest in Houston, Texas.

Attendance inside the 2,000-seat Fountain of Praise church for the two-hour funeral had been limited to about 500 invited family and guests — a number that was quickly exceeded — in an effort to accommodate social distancing requirements in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. But a large crowd remained outside, a day after thousands had passed through the sanctuary for a six-hour public viewing of Floyd in his open gold casket.

"Because of you, we have gained comfort and strength," Floyd's family wrote in a notecard handed out to those who attended the public viewing. "We would like for each of you to know that George is now one of God's beautiful angels and will FOREVER breathe in our hearts."

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.