In honor of Nia Wilson, Anne Hathaway wrote a fiery Instagram post about white privilege.
Photo via Anne Hathaway/Instagram; wyeshawatts/Instagram.

Nia Wilson had big dreams.

Like a lot of teenagers, the 18-year-old loved to rap and sing. Wilson hoped to become a lawyer and start her own cosmetics brand one day. But unfortunately, those aspirations were tragically put to an end.

On July 22, 2018, when Wilson and her two sisters were stepping out of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train in Oakland, California, she was stabbed to death by a white man.


Her death caused an uproar across the nation. While police have not decided whether or not this was a racially motivated killing, concerns about white supremacy and white privilege have been brought to public attention. In her statement offering condolences to Wilson's family, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf made a note about the "tragic and deeply racist history" in the United States. From mass protests in Oakland to social media posts, celebrities and ordinary people alike have been expressing their fears and frustrations with racism.

One of those celebrities to honor Wilson is Anne Hathaway.

In a compelling Instagram post, Hathaway nailed the importance of checking white privilege.

As a white celebrity, it's valuable for someone with her influence to speak against the violence women of color have to fear every single day.

"White people — including me, including you — must take into the marrow of our privileged bones the truth that ALL black people fear for their lives DAILY in America and have done so for GENERATIONS," Hathaway wrote in the post she uploaded on July 25. "White people DO NOT have equivalence for this fear of violence."

The murder of Nia Wilson- may she rest in the power and peace she was denied here- is unspeakable AND MUST NOT be met with silence.  She is not a hash tag; she was a black woman and she was murdered in cold blood by a white man. White people- including me, including you- must take into the marrow of our privileged bones the truth that ALL black people fear for their lives DAILY in America and have done so for GENERATIONS.  White people DO NOT have equivalence for this fear of violence. Given those givens, we must ask our (white)selves- how “decent” are we really?  Not in our intent, but in our actions?  In our lack of action? Peace and prayers and JUSTICE for Nia and the Wilson family xx Note: the comments for this post are closed. #blacklivesmatter #antiracist #noexcuse #sayhername #earntherighttosayhername

A post shared by Anne Hathaway (@annehathaway) on

But as Hathaway pointed out, white people must do more than just "acknowledge" their privileges.

"Given those givens, we must ask our (white)selves — how “decent” are we really?  Not in our intent, but in our actions?  In our lack of action?"

Hathaway's observation about the violence women of color often face is accurate — and a horrific reality.

On July 7, a white man spat on and pushed a Korean woman toward a train in Brooklyn. According to a Facebook post accompanying the video footage of the incident, the unidentified white man told the woman to "get the fuck out of my country."

In May 2017, another white person started screaming anti-Muslim epithets at a teenage girl and her friend while riding a commuter train in Portland, Oregon. The man ended up stabbing three men, killing two, for defending the girls.

The Commission on Human Rights released a June 2018 report that revealed 1 in 4 Muslim women said they were pushed on the subway platform while wearing their headscarf. One of these examples include an incident in December 2016 when a Muslim woman was pushed down the stairs in a NYC subway and called a terrorist.

Although it may seem like a simple social media post, it's crucial for other celebrities to join Hathaway in their public criticisms of white privilege.

The issues women of color often face rarely make headlines, but celebrity entertainment news does. With her millions of followers, Hathaway has made the point to tell her community that we could no longer choose to ignore racial violence when it occurs.

Rather than divert our attention way from it, it's time for us to confront racism head on.

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Some 75 years ago, in bombed-out Frankfurt, Germany, a little girl named Marlene Mahta received a sign of hope in the midst of squalor, homelessness and starvation. A CARE Package containing soap, milk powder, flour, blankets and other necessities provided a lifeline through the contributions of average American families. There were even luxuries like chocolate bars.

World War II may have ended, but its devastation lingered. Between 35 and 60 million people died. Whole cities had been destroyed, the countryside was charred and burned, and at least 60 million European civilians had been made homeless. Hunger remained an issue for many families for years to come. In the face of this devastation, 22 American organizations decided to come together and do something about it: creating CARE Packages for survivors.

"What affected me… was hearing that these were gifts from average American people," remembers Mahta, who, in those desperate days, found herself picking through garbage cans to find leftover field rations and MREs to eat. Inspired by the unexpected kindness, Mahta eventually learned English and emigrated to the U.S.

"I wanted to be like those wonderful, generous people," she says.

The postwar Marshall Plan era was a time of "great moral clarity," says Michelle Nunn, CEO of CARE, the global anti-poverty organization that emerged from those simple beginnings. "The CARE Package itself – in its simplicity and directness – continues to guide CARE's operational faith in the enduring power of local leadership – of simply giving people the opportunity to support their families and then their communities."

Each CARE Package contained rations that had once been reserved for soldiers, but were now being redirected to civilians who had suffered as a result of the conflict. The packages cost $10 to send, and they were guaranteed to arrive at their destination within four months.

Thousands of Americans, including President Harry S. Truman, got involved, and on May 11, 1946, the first 15,000 packages were sent to Le Havre in France, a port badly battered during the war.

Thousands of additional CARE Packages soon followed. At first packages were sent to specific recipients, but over time donations came in for anyone in need. When war rations ran out American companies began donating food. Later, carpentry tools, blankets, clothes, books, school supplies, and medicine were included.

Before long, the CARE Packages were going to other communities in need around the world, including Asia and Latin America. Ultimately, CARE delivered packages to 100 million families around the world.

The original CARE Packages were phased out in the late 1960s, though they were revived when specific needs arose, such as when former Soviet Union republics needed relief, or after the Bosnian War. Meanwhile, CARE transformed. Now, instead of physical boxes, it invests in programs for sustainable change, such as setting up nutrition centers, Village Savings and Loan Associations, educational programs, agroforestry initiatives, and much more.

But, with a pandemic ravaging populations around the world, CARE is bringing back its original CARE packages to support the critical basic needs of our global neighbors. And for the first time, they're also delivering CARE packages here at home in the United States to communities in need.

Community leaders like Janice Dixon are on the front lines of that effort. Dixon, president and CEO of Community Outreach in Action in Jonesboro, Ga., now sends up to 80 CARE packages each week to those in need due to COVID-19. Food pantries have been available, she notes, but they've been difficult to access for those without cars, and public transportation is spotty in suburban Atlanta.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook," says Dixon. For example, one of those calls was from a senior diabetic, she remembers, who faced an impossible choice, but was able to purchase medicine because food was being provided by CARE.

Today, CARE is sending new packages with financial support and messages of hope to frontline medical workers, caregivers, essential workers, and individuals in need in more than 60 countries, including the U.S. Anyone can now go to carepackage.org to send targeted help around the world. Packages focus on helping vaccines reach people more quickly, tackling food insecurity, educational disparities, global poverty, and domestic violence, as well as providing hygiene kits to those in need.

From the very beginning, CARE received the support of presidents, with Hollywood luminaries like Rita Hayworth and Ingrid Bergman also adding their voices. At An Evening With CARE, happening this Tuesday, May 11, notable names will turn out again as the organization celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the CARE Package and the exciting, meaningful work that lies ahead. The event will be hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and attended by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, as well as Angela Merkel, Iman, Jewel, Michelle Williams, Katherine McPhee-Foster, Betty Who and others. Please RSVP now for this can't-miss opportunity.

Last May, when the Northern California city of Santa Rosa announced they were temporarily putting up 70 socially distanced tents for people experiencing homelessness in the parking lot of the Finley Community Center—a popular park and aquatic complex where families regularly gather for recreation—residents of the upscale neighborhood revolted.

According to the Los Angeles Times, some of the commentary from the hundreds of people who complained about the proposed 'tent city' included:

"Will there be a list of everybody who decided to do this to us and our park, in case we want to vote them out?"

"This is a family neighborhood."

"How can we feel safe using our park?"

Residents' concerns included the potential for crime, drug use, trash, and disease—all things that the city would directly address in the project. But notable in the exchange between leaders and residents is that the officials weren't asking residents for permission to create the camp; they were simply informing them they were doing it.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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