Around the time Dear White People premiered on Netflix in 2017, 15-year-old Jordan Edwards was shot and killed by police. Edwards, who was unarmed, was riding in the passenger’s seat of a vehicle that was leaving a party. While police initially attempted to alter details of the incident, Roy Oliver—the officer who wrongfully killed Edwards—was ultimately fired and charged with murder. Edwards’ family later filed a lawsuit.
Almost a year after his death, the cast and crew of the Netflix series is honoring Edwards with a scholarship fund. Titled the Jordan Edwards Memorial Scholarship Fund, the initiative seeks to make the opportunities that were stripped away from Edwards available for young students like him.
“We were deeply saddened by the loss of 15-year-old honor student/athlete Jordan Edwards,” actress Logan Browning (Sam White) wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Jordan aspired to play football at the current NCAA champion University of Alabama. To honor his life, our cast and crew formed a scholarship fund in his name. His dream will live on through another deserving student, and #JordanEdwards will live on as more than just a hashtag.”
Though Edwards’ death couldn’t have been predicted (or perhaps it could have, considering the trajectory of our history), Episode 5 of the Netflix series confronted police brutality when Reggie, the Black student activist played by Marque Richardson, had a gun pulled on him at a college party. The episode was lauded as one of the series’ most poignant episodes, sparking widespread conversation shortly after the series’ premiere.
“I read [the script for the episode] at the table read; I processed it like an hour later,” Richardson told The Hollywood Reporter last April. “I’m riding my bike and I just started crying. And I thought about it again like two hours later and I start crying. Then I read it again and I start crying again only because I’ve never had a gun drawn on me, but the notion that this is the reality of it broke my heart.”
Supporters are welcomed to donate to Edwards’ scholarship fund at TheJordanEdwardsMemorialScholarship.com.