To Charlotte, From Charleston
A week ago we saw a toxic article surface in a local Charlestonian newspaper. It shed new light on the kind of silencing and policing of Black people’s reactions to tragedy that our community is so unfortunately familiar with. This article stated that Charlotte is not responding to Keith Lamont Scott’s murder the “right way” and that the city should look to Charleston for guidance. It claimed that the folks on the ground are outside agitators looking to “stir up trouble.” We know the majority of the folks fighting have called Charlotte (and North Carolina) home for many years and we see you are organizing and strategizing ways to make your family, neighbors, friends, and lovers safe from state sanctioned violence, from white supremacy, and from police brutality.
We see you fighting, we see you resisting, we see you rising up. People are telling you to end this but do not stop.
The whole damn system is guilty as hell; it was guilty in Ferguson, in Baltimore, in Charleston, and now in your home, Charlotte. People are looking to you Charlotte, just as they were looking at us in Charleston over a year ago when an unarmed Black man was slain by a North Charleston police officer and then two months later when nine Black people were murdered during bible study at Emanuel AME church.
There is no appropriate response to traumatic events like the ones that have plagued our cities. The only lesson there is to learn from Charleston is that when disaster strikes, we must find our people. You have taken to the streets, marching together, rallying around one another in this time of pain, standing in your power, and we salute you.
We see y’all engaging with each other as a community and showing the range of emotion that can come during a time like this. Your anger is justified. Your grief is our grief. The image of Charleston that is being compared to you is one that is flat and false. Underneath the picture of acceptance and love is a people still in mourning, still demanding answers from a system that was not built to protect and serve us.
So stand your ground and hold the police accountable. We know that white supremacy continues to play a huge role in our cities. Be mad, be sad, and keep moving. Keep organizing, keep strategizing. We know y’all are down there with demands. We know y’all want Chief Putney gone and that y’all want answers. Stay in the struggle and lean onto each other for support, for guidance, for the win.
Because we know that if y’all win, we will win.