“The big point today during this demonstration was to show the higher-ups that hey we have a voice, we are not going anywhere and we are a vital part of this campus. We do a lot of things on this campus as a black community, we hold so many positions. Without us here you would not be running this campus. So we just wanted to make sure that they knew that we are here and that we have a voice, we are not going to stay silent, we are not going to be quiet. Yes we have classes to go to, but this is bigger than ourselves, and that’s what we wanted the people to know that we love each other and we want this to be a community and in the future we wanna be more inclusive. The diversity on this campus, that’s something we sell ourselves on, but we are not inclusive at all. So our plan today was to be able to go and talk to people we don’t normally talk to and bring them to this event and let them know that it’s all love on this campus. We want them to spread that in their personal life, on and off campus and through the greater Charlotte community. We want them to get involved in organizations off campus like the NAACP and different things uptown. There is so much to do and we just wanted to bring people’s awareness to what happened on Tuesday night and whats going to continue happening unless we make some systematic changes.
It was a little difficult, we went out there (to the Tuesday night protests) there was a mix crowd. There were a lot of people there for the right reasons but there was also a lot of people there with hostility and hate in their hearts. A lot of us didn’t come for that reason, we came because black lives matter is a movement and we’re sticking behind it. We did not come to riot, we did not come to be in police officer’s faces and yell at them, we came to let them know, like we did today (9/21) that our voices need to be heard, this is a problem we identify with and we are going to continue to cover.” -Alexis Widemon
“I want people who see this and hear my voice to know that there are people out here like me that will fight this. I am not going away. If I die today, there is always going to be someone to take my place. I am a black man in this country, and my life is not appreciated. I don’t want my children and grandchildren to be raised in a world where people can judge on the color of your skin and kill you for it. That’s not right. I am tired of being afraid. I am tired of getting out of my bed every day wondering if I’m going to be on the news dead. What would my mom do?? I’m an only child. I think about that. I cry. I cry everyday. This is not right. But the first step is starting the conversation and people knowing we are not making this up. And please; stand with us against injustice.” -Kris Long
“Our main goal is to bring awareness to the unjust killing of black men in our communities. We are tired of having things done and nothing done about it. We are tired of being sick and tired for a lack of better words. We are tired of doing stuff like this. We want to celebrate our black men; we want to celebrate our black community. We don’t want to have to be ashamed for being black. We don’t want to have to drive our cars and wonder am I going to get pulled over because I actually did something wrong or because of the color of my skin? These are things that our grandparents fought for and never thought we would have to experience so to live in this time is really surreal, that’s what we did this for. I would say to people who seek to understand to listen to understand. Don’t listen to rebuttal, don’t tell me your issues, don’t tell me how you’ve been oppressed because I have systematic proof of what happened. I don’t want to hear what I could have done, or this person shouldn’t have done this, and he would not have been killed because we have seen over and over again in the media how people of other races have done things and been apprehended the way they were supposed to be. So to have black men committing crimes if they are guilty or are not but to not have the opportunity to tell their story is unfair.” -Robbie Miller
“I personally feel like it was very important for our campus to do a protest, especially since it was in our backyard. It would be hypocritical of us to support the cause and not do something today (9/21). So the protest last night, a lot of students from UNCC were there, the protest was peaceful in the beginning and then the send out the riot officers which I feel like turned it into a riot, and so then you have those people who don’t acknowledge the situation for what it is. They don’t acknowledge that it’s a protest because a innocent life was lost, they acknowledge that it’s an inconvenience because they can’t get to their apartment, or they acknowledge that “oh I’m scared because I’m in the library on the 8th floor and there’s a riot around the corner”. They don’t recognize what it’s for. They don’t see a purpose for the protest. And so today it felt necessary to have our voice heard and especially since if you go on social media last night there were a lot of thing said were very insensitive to the topic and so this was more so of a we’re gonna put in in your face, you’re going to see, and hopefully feel what we feel. It’s something about just seeing the people lay there and singing. You know, we shouldn’t have to do this, we shouldn’t have to make it this dramatic. I shouldn’t have to take two hours out of my time to lay on ground, but it’s necessary.
Personally how the protest affected me was that it made me feel like I’m doing the right thing, made me feel like a purpose, it made me feel like I spoke to people in ways that I necessarily couldn’t have, a lot of people you try to talk to them and try to get it through their heads what this is, why are we doing it and they don’t get it. And so for me today this is me becoming one with my culture, becoming one with my community. This is me standing up and saying “no I don’t support this”. I’m willing to take two hours out of my day to prove it, this was a collective act from everyone to basically show that we are united, that we love one another and that we aren’t afraid to let UNC Charlotte know. It was more so of ‘you can’t avoid this. You can block us on Twitter, you can unfollow us on social media platforms, but you can’t avoid this because you’re going to walk through the Union. So it was very good protest, very peaceful, nothing went crazy and so i’m really really happy to be a part of it.” -Bri-Anna Lewis
“On Tuesday when I went with my roommate Brittany Gwyn, we didn’t know what to expect. We arrived and saw people walking in every direction, but we decided to push forward. We got to the intersection by the East W.T. Harris exit and saw a barricade posted. I felt like I was in a movie because what I was seeing, I couldn’t believe it. We walked down the exit and saw hundreds of people lined up in front of another barricade. The people took over the streets and there was a guy stomping on a car. The police released a tear gas canister and it burned everything; my eyes, skin, lungs, just everything! Most of the crowd dispersed but continued to chant several sayings like, “No justice, no peace, hands up, don’t shoot.”
About 15 minutes later the barricade pushed forward and a large group of protesters headed down the road towards the interstate, but Brittany and I stayed where we were. There were a hundred or so others who stayed behind with us as well. A couple of people were in the policemen’s faces yelling, cursing, and spitting; doing everything they could display their anger without being too violent. I, however didn’t do that. Instead, I walked about 5 feet in front of the barricade with my hands in the air and I got on my knees. I said a silent prayer for a moment and went on to talk to the riot gear protected police officers in front of me.
I went on and said that these issues must stop, but I also thanked the ones who knew the difference between right and wrong and the ones who wanted to fight with us, instead of against us. I bawled like a baby while speaking to them because I knew that at any moment I could get arrested or something worse could happen. Once I finished saying what I had to say, I got up and stepped to the side where I cried on Brittany’s shoulder. From there, I was interviewed by Fox News about what I did and then we went home before the violence broke out. It was a really shocking and emotional night not only for me, but for the police officers too. I was terrified, but because of my adrenaline I did what I felt I needed to do. It was the one time that my voice could be heard, so I went for it.” -Kristine Slade