This afternoon, Beyoncé took to social media to share an open letter detailing feelings and frustrations about the killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, two black men who died after being shot by police officers.

"We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities," she wrote "It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they 'stop killing us."

The letter, titled "Freedom," shares a name with the one of the final tracks from the singer's Lemonade album and puts the song's pro-black messaging into much more explicit terms: "We don't need sympathy. We need everyone to respect our lives."


In the past, Beyoncé's faced criticism for speaking out against police brutality with many of her detractors interpreting her messaging as being implicitly anti-police. In her letter, however, she makes a point of clarifying that her intentions are not to direct the public's anger toward police departments, but rather to galvanize people to take civic action.

"We all have the power to channel our anger and frustration into action," she says. "We must use our voices to contact the politicians and legislators in our districts and demand social and judicial changes."

Beyoncé joins actor Jesse Williams and rapper Drake in the chorus of black celebrities who've recently chosen to use their platforms to amplify and highlight powerful instances of anti-black racial inequality.


"It’s impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago," Drake wrote in his letter. "No one begins their life as a hashtag. Yet the trend of being reduced to one continues. I do not know the answer. But I believe things can change for the better."

Similarly, Beyoncé expresses her belief that things can change. On her website, the letter is capped off with links to the Louisiana and Minnesota state legislatures as well as the Contacting Congress tool that helps people get in touch with their local congressman. As of this posting, the Contacting Congress site seems to be under a heavy load.

Read Beyoncé's letter in full below: