Co-founder and director of the Voices Project and college pastor at Kilns College
It seems that when certain people are threatened, that the standard protocol is to declare a state of emergency.
My belief, along with many others, is that we have a state of emergency and it is for the dignity of Black lives. The uprising in Charlotte last month is a reminder that we are in a critical and urgent time. Many people want to push the attention towards the few who use violence as their voice. I pray God can save us from this trap that moves the focus from justice to sensationalism, from the cry of multitudes to the shouts of the few.
The emergency in Charlotte is less about broken glass and more about Black communities that are tired of seeing daughters and sons killed.
The emergency is that gentrification, the displacement of poor communities at the mercy of economic interests, is wiping out entire communities.
The emergency is that schools in minority neighborhoods are under-funded, under-staffed, and under-supported, resulting in a pipeline to prison.
Unrest over the circumstances is buzzing through the streets, reverberating across national news channels, and seeping into every part of American social life… and hopefully we are listening.
I visited the city of Charlotte shortly after the shooting. The morning before Keith Lamont Scott was shot, I walked the streets of West Charlotte listening to the story of an unsupported community. I walked in a neighborhood in the throes of a gentrification process—or as many like to sanitize it, an ‘urban renewal program.’
I watched a poor man desperately inquire about housing and a dignified way to live. I saw the angst on the faces of people too long profiled by the color of their skin. I saw hopelessness in the eyes of the elderly who once believed ...