Race, politics and 2020 election take center stage at virtual town hall meeting

Updated: Sep. 8, 2020 at 6:02 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Race, politics and the 2020 election will be the conversation for an upcoming virtual town hall meeting in Charlotte.

The Cynthia Hurd Foundation is sponsoring the town hall event and WBTV is the media sponsor.

Cynthia Hurd was one of the nine people killed in the Mother Emanuel AME Church Shooting. Her brother, Charlotte City Councilman Malcolm Graham, wants the town hall to serve as civic engagement for voters. He says that was important to his sister.

On the panel will be political columnist Mary Curtis, political commentator, author and professor Jelani Cobb and Rev. Dr. William Barber. Cobb says there are many things that should make people come to the polls this election.

“I mean, there’s no shortage of issues to be aware of in this election,” Cobb said. “We’re really looking at crucial matters that go to the heart of democracy and issues. If you were concerned about policing and police use of force, then this is an election that you can’t afford to sit out. If you are concerned with the pandemic and how the response has been, lacking in many ways in the way that it has particularly impacted communities of color, this is an election that you can’t afford just to get out.”

Cobb says constant protests over social injustice, senseless shootings, and racism is overwhelming.

“These are things that should be really disturbing to all of us,” Cobb said. “You know someone who has written about these issues and who’s covered these issues as a journalist. I can’t think of a point in which I’ve been more concerned about them than I am right now.”

Cobb says a lot is on the line in this election. He says he is concerned about voter suppression.

“The fact of the matter is that North Carolina is at the center of all of these questions that we’re talking about,” Cobb said. “You know we have seen North Carolina really functioned as a laboratory for policies that have had negative impacts on vulnerable communities throughout the country - particularly after 2008, when Barack Obama won North Carolina and the state has moved in the opposite direction since then. And when we are trying to understand what’s going on nationally - we need to pay very close attention to what’s going on in North Carolina.”

Cobb also says voters should not only pay attention to what’s going on nationally but what is happening in their local races.

“I think that we’ve never before had a point in which local politics were more obviously important to communities,” Cobb said. “Than there is right now for whatever is happening on the national level with the pandemic - you are experiencing it on the local level. We have had an unprecedented amount of responsibility put on the shoulders of State and Local officials and resources and institutions to navigate.”

The virtual town hall meeting will be filled with diversity of thought. Organizers hope people can leave with a plan of action.

“We want to elucidate the issues,” Cobb said. “We want to elucidate what’s at stake. We want to highlight how we got here, what were the specific dynamics that allowed us to wind up in this place and also to talk constructively about what we can do to move forward?”

The town hall meeting takes place Wednesday, September 8 at 6 p.m. If you would like to sign up to be part of this town hall meeting, click here.

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