As the Black Lives Matter Movement continues to protest and bring attention to the hundreds of police shootings nationwide, one of the younger activists of the movement, Zianna Oliphant, addressed her City Council in Charlotte, N.C. on Monday with a powerful speech about police violence and racism.
"I feel like we are treated differently than other people," Oliphant explained to the council. "I don’t like how we’re treated... just because of our color doesn’t mean anything to me." The young girl began to break down in tears as she talked about the recent deaths of African-American men. "We are black people, and we shouldn’t have to feel like this. We shouldn’t have to protest because y’all are treating us wrong. We do this because we need to, and we have rights," she continued.
Fighting through her tears, Oliphant also spoke about what moved her to give her testimony before the council. "I’ve been born and raised in Charlotte, and I never felt this way until now. And I can’t stand how we’re treated," she said. "It’s a shame that our fathers and mothers are killed and we can’t see them anymore. It’s a shame that we have to go to their graveyard and bury them. And we have tears, and we shouldn’t have tears. We need our fathers and mothers to be by our side."
Zianna's tearful speech was one of many voices heard during the event, in which Charlotte residents expressed their concern and anger with the current conditions. At one moment, video footage captured the crowd chanting the names of men who have died in the last year at the hands of police.
The City Council meeting follows the the recent protests which erupted after the death of Keith Lamont Scott. Scott was fatally shot by police on Sept. 20 while reportedly waiting for his son to get out of school. Council member Al Alston says more testimonies like Zianna's and others will only continue to grow louder as the unrest continues. "The unrest here has been decades in the making. Tuesday was the boiling point, and it’s getting hotter.”