Zion isn’t staying silent…
The 38-year-old Puerto Rican singer, one half of Zion & Lennox, is among the Latino artists demanding justice after another unarmed black person was killed at the hands of police officers, while using their platforms to amplify the Black Lives Matter movement.
Zion, whose real name is Felix Ortiz, joins artists like Prince Royce, Pedro Capó, Becky G, Sofía Reyes, Justin Quiles in speaking out following the recent deaths of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was suffocated to death by a Minneapolis police officer during an arrest last week, Breonna Taylor, and other black citizens who have died at the hands of police, as well as Ahmaud Arbery, who was chased and killed by armed white residents of a South Georgia neighborhood while he was on a run.
“Being an AfroLatino Puerto Rican, it saddens me to see people of color still suffering injustices this day and age,” Zion tells Billboard. “The Black community needs Latin voices to speak up in solidarity. We cannot sit and do nothing.”
Here’s a look at some of the Latino artists who’ve shared quotes with Billboard on being an ally to the black community, and the importance of speaking up against systemic racism in the U.S.
Zion (of Zion & Lennox):
Being an AfroLatino Puerto Rican, it saddens me to see people of color still suffering injustices this day and age. The Black community needs Latino voices to speak up in solidarity. We cannot sit and do nothing, we have also suffered at the hands of racism and discrimination. This past week’s protests are a display of communities all over the country, demanding change. We all share in their frustration but we must do things right. Vandalism, looting and violence are not the answer. Our communities need to come together and take action.
The death of George Floyd has been horrifying and heart-wrenching and we all know that he, as well as Breonna Taylor and Ahmad Aubrey are only a few of the many who die unjustly because of racism and discrimination in our country. We must all band together, Latino, Black, White, Asian, to work for change. Our nation is tired of the racism, the division and the hate. We can only heal and move forward towards a better future by dealing with this head on, addressing it, educating ourselves and each other so that future generations never have to experience such injustices. This won’t bring any of the victims back but we must ensure they did not die in vain. Only in a nation free of racism will we all be able to breathe free again.“
I stand with George Floyd’s family and the countless others that have suffered from injustice, hate, race inequality and persecution. Evidently this is an unresolved horror that still runs very deep in our society. Black lives matter and this is the time to stand for justice and demand a change. There has to be police reform and criminal justice reform but we as a whole must be part of a social and cultural reform. A reform based on empathy, love and compassion that starts at home and in our communities. Change is coming but it is up to us to make it happen. I urge people to use their voice responsibly. Staying silent is being complicit.
As a Mexican American, I stand proudly with my black brothers and sisters. While these injustices are not new and the pain and suffering is global, I am proud to see so many people acknowledging their privilege, using their platforms to elevate others and highlighting what is really important throughout all the noise. I stand as an ally with those who are hurting and I stand in admiration watching those of you, who even through tearful eyes, are taking the time out of your day to educate us and open our minds up to the root of the problem so significant change can be made. They tell us all that we are the minorities, but together we are the majority.
The importance of two minorities coming together in solidarity is immeasurable. The Latino and Black communities need to raise their voices because together, we can bring change where it is most needed. We know what it is like to be treated so unfairly. It is heart breaking to see all this injustice and to see people dying. It is wrong! We can’t allow this to continue happening and within our own people too. The world is in a critical state and I am hoping our influence is being heard and that Latinos stand up united to do what is right. #BlackLivesMatter
I felt inspired to speak up because I feel powerless in this situation. I stand for love and even thou the world is so big I feel like by me “being” and “sharing” it, I’m making a difference. It’s important to speak up. I really hope the world finds it sooner than later. I’m really sorry for the innocent lives that have suffered and for racism. I hope one day we all realize that we’re all one. Brothers and sisters. And as I said before; no one is saved until we all are.
We are only as big as the challenges we overcome. Every generation is faced with challenges which I call opportunities. This is our opportunity as minorities to change things for the better, for our futures and the future generations. You need allies to win wars and wether we like it or not this war has been going on since before all of us were born; the war of inequality and racism. Unity between all minorities is the only weapon that defeats this enemy, an alliance between our people is the only way we win this. Our skin color might be brown, black, yellow and all the colors of the rainbow but our money is just as green as everyone else’s and that’s the color the system cares about the most. The day we as minorities learn to come together, for a cause as one group, there is absolutely no war we can’t win. We shouldn’t have to mold to the system, the system was put there by us and for us, the system must mold to us!
Play (of Play N Skillz):
If there ever was a time to unite, this is it. We as latinos, have had our fair share of being mistreated. We share the pain and injustice with our black brothers and sisters. This is the time to rally together, but we have to do it peacefully,, because doing it with violence, is what they want us to do. This is the stereotype, the profile they want to give us minorities and we must be smarter than that. We ARE smarter than that. This is a sad time for humanity. The only answer is to come together. Black, White, Latinos, Asians, Middle Eastern, etc. We are one. We cannot let one more life be taken in vain. Bottom line? There is no neutral position on racism. Rest is Power George Floyd.
Si asumes una postura neutral ante un acto racista, eres parte del problema. #BlackLivesMatter #MásDeUnAsesino. If you are neutral in a case of racism, you are part of the problem.