CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Facing and Erasing Systemic Racism: A Community Conversation aired on WBTV Friday night. It was a look at how we got where we are and what it will take to make things better for all.
It also talked about the changes made since George Floyd’s death in May at the hands of police. After the killing, there have been nationwide protests of people demanding change. They are looking for equality, justice and an end to police brutality.
The community conversation talked to educators and community activists to get their perspective of the current events.
"It saddens me and it enrages me as a black woman and as a professor at an HBCU that it always has to end up with the conversation of the loss of black life - as we’ve seen for us to revisit, enough people have died - can we do the work without black lives being lost,” Johnson C. Smith University Professor Dr. Terza Lima-Neves said.
The conversation recognized other African Americans who have been killed by police and how their deaths sparked change. The conversation included dicussion about oppression and systems put in place to hold African Americans back. That part of the conversation hit on health care, education and housing.
"It's going to take multiple steps to solve the problem of black people not being treated equally," Righteous Keitt said. "It's happened for years and it's happening all across America and regardless - so everyone needs to be focused in to solve the problem."
A diverse crowd is protesting. People in the community think it’s a good thing because it will take everybody to come to the table to discuss the problems and come up with solutions. Many believe it’s all hands on deck. The belief is to make meaningful change - there has to be hard conversations.
“Everything that’s going to take work and move forward, it’s going to make us feel a little uncomfortable and that has to be okay at some point,” Lima-Neves said.
My Brother's Keeper of Charlotte wants to be part of the solution. The organization believes the current events prove their work is needed.
"My Brother's Keeper of Charlotte Mecklenburg will not squander its righteous indignation in this time with inaction." MBK Charlotte Mecklenburg Executive Director Don Thomas said.
Thomas said the organization will develop a plan and practices that will help boys of color succeed. It will also partner with other organizations to get the work done.
“We are already kind of partnered with programmatic strategies with Big Brother and Big Sisters, and some other organizations of how do we use our platforms to get the volunteers they need,” Thomas said.
Many say this community conversation needs to continue and admit it will take more than talk to erase systemic racism.
“It’s going to take a lot more than tweets, posts and reposts,” Keitt said. “You are going to have to vote. We’re going to have to keep protesting - be active. We are going to have to go to meetings - participate as civic students. People who are trying to live in this community and better it.”