Zendaya is using her voice to share an important message with her young fans.
The Spider-Man: Homecoming star took the stage at the Teen Choice Awards at the Galen Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, after she earned the trophy for Choice Summer Movie Actress, and she took the opportunity to use her public platform to make a point.
“I appreciate this more than you can understand,” Zendaya said. “Right now I wanna talk to all the young people in the audience, I want you all to listen. With all the injustice and the hatred and everything that is happening, not only in the world but in our country, I need for you guys to be educated, I need you to listen, I need you to pay attention.”
“I need you to go ahead and understand that you have a voice and it’s OK to use it when you see something bad happening,” she continued. “So make sure that you stay educated and you do not let people tell you what you think you should feel.”
The actress’ powerful words come one day after violence broke out at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where hundreds of white supremacists marched through the University of Virginia holding torches and chanting as part of a so-called “Unite the Right” event.
The rally was met with a number of counter-protests made up of civil rights organization, student groups, anti-fascist activists and community members. Tensions rose between the groups with occasional bouts of violence.
On Saturday afternoon, a man drove into a crowd of counter-protesters who had turned out to march against the rally. The attack killed a 32-year-old woman and injured 19 others. The fatal incident incited many in Hollywood and in Washington to denounce the rally and those who participated.
“You’re the leaders! You’re the future leaders of the of the world. You’re the future presidents, the future senators, and you’re the ones who are going to make this world better,” Zendaya told her fans. “So I’m just letting you know right now that you are the future. So take that very, very seriously.”
The actress has also been very outspoken on social media regarding the incidents in Charlottesville.
CALL IT WHAT IT IS. IT. IS. TERRORISM.
— Zendaya (@Zendaya) August 12, 2017