Mary C. Curtis: Confederate Monument Controversy

CHARLOTTE, NC — Over the last few weeks we’ve seen the removal of confederate monuments across the United States.

Here in North Carolina, the controversial “fame’ statue was removed from downtown Salisbury.

In Gaston county, a panel is having talks this week to decide the future of a confederate statue outside the courthouse.

Here’s WCCB Political contributor Mary C. Curtis with more on the debate.

POLITICAL WRAP: Trump Campaign “Culture War” Strategy; A New Silent Majority?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – President Trump, at Mount Rushmore on Friday night, set the stage for a campaign increasingly focused on “culture war” issues.

“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children,” the President said.

So, is the appeal of a “culture war” campaign too narrow?

Or is there a Nixon-esque “Silent Majority,” as the President is saying, ready to show up in November?

Click above for more with our political contributor, Mary C. Curtis.

There is more than one way to be Black — and to be an American

Elijah McClain of Aurora, Colorado, was many things. The slight 23-year-old, who looked younger, was a massage therapist one client described as “the sweetest, purest person I have ever met.” He was a vegetarian who taught himself to play the guitar and violin and shared his musical gifts with shelter animals to calm them. Family members said he sometimes wore a ski mask because he was anemic and always cold, and perhaps to create some distance in a world he found overwhelming. (And aren’t we all supposed to be covering our faces these days.) In his final trip to a convenience store, though, he interacted with the clerk and customers, it seemed from video, offering a bow on his way out.

Did he look “sketchy” and “suspicious” to a 911 caller and police because he sang to himself on the walk home and waved his arms, perhaps conducting a symphony only he could hear? McClain told the police who stopped him, “I am an introvert, please respect the boundaries that I am speaking.”

The three officers escalated the confrontation, took him down with a hold that made him utter a too-often-heard refrain: “I just can’t breathe correctly.” One officer threatened to sic a dog on him. If they saw his quirks, his idiosyncrasies, his joy, it did not translate. If they heard his pleas, these enforcers of laws the young man had not broken did not listen. “You are beautiful and I love you,” he told them. He apologized for vomiting as police tossed around his 140-pound body before medics shot it up with strong drugs.

Now, Elijah McClain, who police say committed no crime, is dead.

Mary C. Curtis: Russia Bounty Allegations

CHARLOTTE, NC — What did the president know?

That’s the question lawmakers want answered– after reports that U.S. intelligence found out Russians offered a bounty if Taliban terrorists killed U.S. and British troops in Afghanistan.

The white house says the president was never briefed on the plot.

Here’s WCCB political contributor Mary C. Curtis.

POLITICAL WRAP: Coronavirus Mask Mandate; Presidential Poll Numbers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The debate over a mask mandate, just one part of how the coronavirus pandemic is becoming increasingly political.

Our political contributor Mary C. Curtis has more on the recent spike in cases we’re seeing in the South, and the strategies for the presidential campaigns, as we move closer to November.

Special Program – Black Charlotteans: A Candid Conversation On Race

The death of George Floyd and the unrest that exploded across the country has forced a conversation on the table. It’s a wake-up call for America to examine the impact of racism and reckon with injustices people of color face daily. Every Black American has a story to tell. Is the country ready to listen? Award-winning columnist Mary C. Curtis sits down with fellow Charlotteans of color to share some of those stories and reflect on this moment.

Host:

Mary C. Curtis, journalist, speaker, columnist at CQ Roll Call, and contributor to WFAE, WCCB-TV and a variety of national outlets. She is senior facilitator with The OpEd Project.

Panelists:

Tracey Benson, assistant professor of educational leadership at UNC Charlotte and author of “Unconscious Bias in Schools: A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism.”

Justin Perry, owner and therapist at Perry Counseling Healing and Recovery. He is a partner with the group Charlotte for Black Futures

Tonya Jameson, political consultant, former Charlotte Observer reporter

Leondra Garrett, native Charlottean and longtime community advocate who works with the groups Block Love Charlotte and United Neighborhoods of Charlotte to build community and feed our homeless neighbors.

The very American Postal Service now a partisan pawn, with democracy at stake

When I was a little girl, the youngest of five children in a family with parents who made ends meet while never letting us see them sweat, the U.S. Postal Service was as welcome as Santa during the holidays. While dad was tending bar and waiting tables at parties after he signed off from his 9-to-5, mom picked up shifts at the post office, handling the packages and cards that swamped the system in December.

God bless the Postal Service, an essential piece of America’s history before it was America and included in the U.S. Constitution, which gave Congress the power “to establish post offices and post roads.” Founding father Benjamin Franklin was the first postmaster general under the Continental Congress, and a young Abraham Lincoln was appointed postmaster of New Salem, Illinois, in 1833.

Though African American postal workers experienced discrimination, they sought work and served despite routine and harsh obstacles. Well into the civil rights era, that federal job could be sustenance for African Americans locked out of corporate America. Among the postal force could be found many civil rights activists, such as John L. LeFlore, a letter carrier in Mobile, Alabama, from 1922 to 1965, and an NAACP organizer who fought for the desegregation of Mobile’s public schools and businesses and for voting and housing rights.

The post office has been a pathway to the middle class for many hardworking families of every race, and has delivered in urban centers and rural outposts without fear or favor, in snow and rain and heat and gloom of night and … you know the rest, to bring mail, medicine and more. Connections forged with letter carriers could be more personal than businesslike.

What’s not to like?

A lot, to listen to some of our country’s leaders, who seem determined to sabotage something that has been integral to the country’s development. This is at a time when the Postal Service could be crucial to the right to vote, which might explain one reason for the controversy — the No. 1 reason, perhaps.

Mary C. Curtis: Trump Holds Rally in Arizona Amid Surge in Coronavirus Cases

CHARLOTTE, NC — Fresh off a disappointing campaign rally over the weekend, President Trump spoke to a packed crowd of students at a rally in Arizona Tuesday night.

But the president’s visit didn’t come without criticism… as COVID-19 cases in Arizona are surging.

Here’s more from our WCCB political contributor Mary C. Curtis.

POLITICAL WRAP: Confederate Monument Controversy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – President Trump is speaking out about the removal of monuments.

“The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments,” the President said during a rally on Saturday night.

It comes as Governor Roy Cooper orders the removal of Confederate monuments in Raleigh, citing public safety concerns.

Our political contributor Mary C. Curtis has more on the debate surrounding monuments and other Confederate symbols.