Students shun violence, understand anger in Charlotte

East Forsyth Senior Jay Black makes a comment during the High School Race R elations Forum held at Reynolds High School on Thursday, Sept. 22.

Students shun violence, understand anger in Charlotte
September 29
08:00 2016

Photos by Tevin Stinson



Days after hundreds of people took over the streets of Charlotte last week to protest the death of Keith Lamont Scott, a black man who was shot and killed by a Charlotte Mecklenburg Police officer, more than three dozen local high school students gathered to give their own perspectives on race relations.

When asked about the protest in Charlotte, a number of students said although they understand why people are angry, they don’t agree with the violent riots that swept through the city after Scott was shot and killed while waiting for his son to get off the school bus on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

According to reports, Scott was shot and killed by Brentley Vinson in the parking lot of the Village at College Downs apartment complex on Old Concord Road. While preparing to serve a warrant on another person, officers supposedly spotted Scott with a gun.

After asking Scott to drop the weapon, Officer Vinson fired his service weapon. Scott was taken to a local hospital, where he died, police said.

Just hours after news surfaced that yet another black man had been shot and killed by a member of law enforcement, peaceful protesters marched through the streets of Charlotte. As day turned to night, the peaceful protest turned into violent displays of anger that led to damaged businesses, buildings, and vehicles. At one point, protesters blocked both lanes on highway Interstate 85 with bonfires in the middle of the busy roadway.

“My opinion is that the riots started too soon,” said one student. “The incident in Charlotte, people only have little bits of information and decided to go from there and started to loot and riot.

“I think it takes away from the peaceful protest.”

A senior at Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy (WSPA), Charlie Garcia, said, “I don’t think the riots are helping change the situation that we’re going through.”

Students also offered their opinions on how to improve the relationship between the community and police. A senior at East Forsyth, Jaye Black, said one way to improve the relationship is more transparency.

“There is a wall between the inner workings of the police and the people,” continued Black. “If we break down that wall, we will be able to have a better relationship.”

During the annual Race Relations Forum hosted by the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and the city’s Human Relations Department, students also voiced their opinions on other issues, including Colin Kapernick’s decision to boycott the national anthem, and the race for the White House.

“Colin Kapernick is exercising his right as an American. We need a lot more respect for other people’s views,”  a senior at Reynolds, Noah Peebles, said.

Keith Watson, a student at WSPA, said he was 100 percent behind Kapernick and other athletes who have chosen to kneel during the National Anthem during sporting events.

When asked about the upcoming election and the comments made by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Parkland senior Camille Graham said Trump’s views and comments on race is setting the country back 80 years.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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