ACLU Statement on Death of Harry Belafonte

Mr. Belafonte was one of the first ACLU Artist Ambassadors

April 25, 2023 5:00 pm

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NEW YORK — In response to the passing of Harry Belafonte, American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director, Anthony D. Romero, issued the following statement:

“Harry Belafonte was a lifelong activist who broke racial barriers throughout his storied career and advocated for racial justice until the very end. An instrumental artist-leader in the Civil Rights struggle, Mr. Belafonte invested in and fundraised for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and he helped to organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

“Mr. Belafonte understood that alongside advocating for systemic change in the courts and through legislation, there was power in changing hearts and minds through art and culture. He believed that actors, musicians, and all artists have a responsibility to use their platform to advance social justice.

“As one of the ACLU’s first Artist Ambassadors, Mr. Belafonte was passionate about ending the school to prison pipeline and advocating for juvenile justice. Through his organization Sankofa Justice and Equity Fund, he invested in the power of artists and entertainers to create systemic change through culture. Understanding the power and privilege his career as an artist provided, Mr. Belafonte mentored generations of activists, and he encouraged other artists to not back down from the necessary fight for racial justice.”

 

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