The Cast of 'Dear White People' Is Honoring Teen Killed by Police With A Scholarship Fund In His Name

The cast of Dear White People, the Netflix series based on the 2014 film of the same name created by Justin Simien, has started the Jordan Edwards Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of Alabama, in honor of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.

Edwards was fatally shot by a police officer on April 29, 2017. Dear White People’s first season premiered just one day earlier, and the fact that the show deals with themes of social injustice, and even has an episode wherein a police officer points a gun at Reggie (a black college student), makes the decision to start a scholarship fund in Edwards’ name all the more meaningful.

Marque Richardson, who plays Reggie on the show, spoke to CBS News about the fund. “My good friend Brandon Bell called me after he heard the news, and we were both in a state of like, ‘What the f**k?’ Also, we know how this pans out. We've seen it so many times. And I don't what we can do, but we have to do something," he said. "So we reached out to the Edwards family and we said, ‘We're here. We want to help in any way we can. How can we help?’”

This reaction reflects the actions of Dear White People’s characters, most of whom are black students that turn to activism to battle cultural bias and social injustice. Since Edwards was hoping to attend the University of Alabama when he reached college age, the cast, crew, and showrunners created the fund in his name and then, Richardson said, “opened it up to the public, and the response has been amazing. And the family has been overwhelmed.”

The fund is probably very special for the grieving Edwards family, especially considering the trial for Roy Oliver, the now ex-officer that shot him, has been pushed from January to June, likely extending their anguish. The scholarship fund is also a reminder that, as we watch wonderful stories centering on black individuals and communities such as Dear White People and Black Panther, we have to remember that the reality for black men, women, and children in America is one that still involves the threat of police brutality, and we need to work to change it. In Richardson’s words, “Time's Up on killing black boys, and men, and women. Not to take away at all from the Time's Up movement—I support that a thousand percent. I'm so glad to see that people have had enough of a lot of the stuff that's going on right now and are taking it to the streets. So in addition to that, Time's Up on all of this. And that's what the scholarship is for.”

Season two of Dear White People has no official release date yet, but has been confirmed by Netflix. Hopefully, like season one, it will continue these important conversations about race in America.