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home : community : community September 26, 2020

6/10/2020 3:56:00 AM
Prayer Meeting On The Courtsquare
Hear Me Now! “United We Stand” Mark 12.31 “Love Your Neighbor” A Call to Pray Promoting Love AndUnity In Our CommunityJune 10th @ 7 pmDowntown Lincolnton On The Courthouse Steps We Encourage Everyone To Wear Face Covering And toPractice Social Distancing
Hear Me Now! “United We Stand”
Mark 12.31 “Love Your Neighbor”
A Call to Pray Promoting Love And
Unity In Our Community
June 10th @ 7 pm
Downtown Lincolnton
On The Courthouse Steps
We Encourage Everyone To
Wear Face Covering And to
Practice Social Distancing
A Peaceful Protest was recently held in Mount Holly.(Photos Courtesy Bill Ward Photography)
A Peaceful Protest was
recently held in Mount Holly.

(Photos Courtesy Bill Ward Photography)

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer

George Floyd, the black Minneapolis man who died after a white policeman held him down with his knee for nearly nine minutes, was laid to rest Tuesday (June 9th) in Houston, Texas, the town where he grew up.  Floyd was born in North Carolina, and his death has become a rallying point for thousands in cities across America and around the world.  Protests that sometimes also became riots have gone on for two weeks.

Truth is that George Floyd was not a model citizen.  Some have posted Facebook stories about his criminal past--that he had a drug charge as far back as 1997 and that ten years later, he was convicted of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and given a five-year prison sentence.  He left Houston and went to Minnesota to try to turn his life around, but he had drugs in his system when he died, and he had attempted to pass (whether he knew it was or not) a counterfeit bill.  He wasn't a model citizen; but that shouldn't have mattered to the police who went to question and arrest him.  Their actions were unacceptable, no matter what Floyd's past might have been.

Breonna Taylor is a much more acceptable hero.  She was an EMT killed in her own Louisville home in a drug raid where police got the wrong address.  Her death in March came before the death of jogger Ahmaud Arbery in south Georgia, hunted down by vigilantes who said they suspected him of breaking into a house (he had committed no crime, he apparently stopped at the house under construction--as others also did--to get a drink of water).  

While the nation may have mourned George Floyd, it isn't he or Taylor or Arbery that should concern us--any more than it is the few accused of crimes related to their deaths that should draw most of our attention.  What should concern us is that this systemic racism has been a part of the American legal and judicial system for all our lives and while there have been protests--and riots--before, it hasn't been changed.  

In 1968, two black American athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who had won medals, raised a black-gloved fist during the playing of the US national anthem in Mexico City.  As they left the podium they were booed by the crowd. Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage, a white American, ordered Smith and Carlos suspended from the US team and banned from the Olympic Village.  The two were protesting the very same systemic racism that still exists today.

Football star Colin Kaepernick, who quarterbacked the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in the 2012-2013 season, became the next best known black athlete to protest the injustice of the systems.  Having sat during the national anthem in earlier pre-season games in 2016, during the final one, he knelt on one knee instead.  His act of protest and defiance contributed to his banishment from the game (although unofficial) and became a rallying cry for President Trump and others, many of whom vowed never to watch another NFL game after other black athletes followed Kaepernick's lead.  

The death of Floyd, coming so soon after the deaths of Arbery and Taylor, sparked protests across the country and resulted in rioting that hadn't been seen since the Rodney King assault and acquittal of four Los Angeles police officers in state court in 1991 (two of them were later convicted on federal charges related to the beating).  

While there have been incidents of violence, destruction of property and looting in some locations, most of the protests have been peaceful.  One big difference is that the protestors this time are racially mixed--often as many whites as African-Americans.  There have been protests in Charlotte and other large cities every night for two weeks and smaller protests in small towns.  One of them occurred in Newton last Tuesday afternoon and another on the Courtsquare in Lincolnton that evening.  There were also protests in Gastonia, Shelby and Mt. Holly.  

What is happening on the Courtsquare this Wednesday evening is not, we are told, a protest.  It is instead a Unity Rally.  Organized by Jamel Farley, it will be instead a prayer service.  Farley says the event will be held rain or shine, "so bring your umbrella and join us."

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