CHARLOTTE, NC (Deon Roberts/The Charlotte Observer) - Kiesha Battles was dropping off meals to the needy in northwest Charlotte on Thursday, when she discovered a racist note taped to a newspaper delivery tube that stopped her in her tracks.
"Whites," it began. "Quit having sex with dirty dark people."
Battles, who is black, said she found the note on a cluster of mailboxes and newspaper delivery tubes while trying to find a home off Sunset Road where she had never delivered meals before. Not sure if the note was connected to the address she was looking for, Battles said she became uncomfortable, put the meal in a mailbox and left.
"This is the first thing I encounter when I'm going to help someone?" said Battles, who was making the delivery as part of her weekly route for the nonprofit Friendship Trays. "It's disheartening when you're serving people."
After finding the note, she posted a photo of it on Facebook, writing: "yes that's right here in your city, your county, your state, your country."
The reason for posting it on social media, she said, was "just to continue the momentum" and to shine a light on the need to improve race relations.
"And remind people that things are still going on here, right here in Charlotte."
Battles, who has lived in North Carolina as well as the Northeast, settling in Charlotte about 10 years ago, said Thursday's finding felt all too familiar.
"I live in the northwest (Charlotte) area, and I do see Confederate flags," said Battles, whose home is five miles from where she found the note. "I see that stuff all the time."
A full-time yoga instructor with a master's degree in Asian studies, Battles said she's been trying to use yoga to heal divisions in the community in the wake of September's shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott. Scott, who was black, was killed by a black Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer, an incident that ignited days of protests in the city.
Battles said she organized five yoga events in the Charlotte region following Scott's death to promote unity and solidarity. The events in Romare Bearden Park, Fourth Ward Park and elsewhere offered free instruction with different yoga teachers, she said.