'Orange Is the New Black' Star Makes a Statement About Alton Sterling and Philando Castile

July 13th 2016

Lucy Tiven

Many "Orange Is the New Black" fans were profoundly saddened by the death of beloved character Poussey (Samira Wiley) in the show's Season 4 finale. In an interview with Mic, to be published in full next week, Wiley opened up about fans' responses to the episode, recent police killings, and the Black Lives Matter movement that inspired her character's plot line.

Poussey's death invoked that of Eric Garner, who was killed in a chokehold by a New York Police Department officer in July of 2014, and whose death — along with that of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri — sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.

Fans of the show grieved her character's death on a deeply personal level, but responses to actual police killings can seem less emotionally charged, the actress pointed out.

"People are really upset about Poussey," Wiley told Mic. "But I want people to be really upset about what's happening in the real world."

Last week, two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, were killed by police officers, igniting protests across the country.

Wiley spoke out about Sterling's death on Twitter last Wednesday.

"It's unfathomable to think that we would still have new names that we need to remember," the actress told Mic.

Her tweet hearkens back to the hashtag #SayHerName, which was created last year in the wake of Sandra Bland's death while in police custody.

The #SayHerName movement aims to spread awareness about police brutality and acknowledge its victims on an individual basis.

It has since been adopted to talk about both male and female victims of police violence, and asks us to resist the silencing and erasure of individual black lives.

Recently, it has also been used to discuss Latino victims of police brutality.

"Continuing to literally just have their names in your mouths is honoring them and honoring their lives and making sure that they didn't die in vain," Wiley told Mic. "To make sure that we are talking about these men; we are talking about the crimes that led to their demise; we are talking about all the things that trouble us."

[h/t Mic]