by Janice Robinson
For too long, many residents in Charlotte have felt those of us who live in Ballantyne live in a “bubble”. The “Ballantyne Families/Kidz March for Justice” was way overdue!
When I woke up on Thursday, June 4, I decided I needed to get the ball rolling to have a march here in my community of Ballantyne. Having attended three marches already, the one on Beatties Ford Road on May 29 and the two held in Uptown on May 31, I felt we needed to show our fellow Charlotteans that we no longer live in a “bubble” out here! I also thought it was imperative that we stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those around the world wanting to see systemic changes so the kind of horrific event that took place in Minneapolis and NEVER happen again!
The march was just the beginning though; we decided with all the marches that have taken place over the years with no end to the horrific murders, we had to do more than just march. We created a “next steps” document outlining specific things we wanted the marchers to do after the march was over. We created a QR code folks could scan with their cell phones to go right to the document. We had volunteers with clipboards containing the QR code that walked the crowd giving marchers an opportunity to scan it. Rather than having a lot of folks making speeches, we kneeled in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to honor George Floyd and drilled the marchers on the importance of doing the next steps or this march would have been for nothing.
The next steps document contains four areas of focus: Policy Reforms; Economic Support for the Black community; Voting; and a Learn & Share section for our caucasian friends who needed to educate themselves. The document can be accessed at https://qrgo.page.link/bhhrk and we encourage everyone to go to the document and do the action steps listed. The policy reforms we are seeking will not only provide more protections for black/brown residents but provide funding for social services, which address the core root causes of some of the crimes committed. Expecting CMPD (and police across the country) to manage these problems is unfair to them, and the residents of Charlotte. We are encouraged by the actions taken by the Charlotte City Council on June 8 and will continue to push for the other items we seek.
In my email to Chief Kerr Putney on June 11, I wanted to let him know the awesome job Capt. Christian Wagner of the South Division, and Officer Ryan Carlton, our community officer, did in helping us with the preparations for the march. Having organized my Neighborhood Watch over 10 years ago, I’ve had the pleasure of building lasting friendships with many of the officers and knew I could count on their help. It is my dream that every community in Charlotte can feel they have the kind of relationship with CMPD as we have here in Ballantyne.
Our condolences to the George Floyd family.