Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: CMPD Tear Gas Video Released; RNC Here And Gone

Video has been released of a June 2 incident in uptown Charlotte where tear gas was used on protesters. We’ll talk about the conversation caught on body cam that led to a suspension for one CMPD officer.

The RNC was in Charlotte this week, but occurred in a much different way than was planned two years ago. The political speeches did happen, the roll call of states did happen, the expected uptown protests did happen, and in a surprise move, President Trump did visit. But area businesses saw little impact. We’ll give a rundown.

CMS continues to work to improve connectivity for students learning online as the school year gets underway, with several drive-up Wi-Fi sites for students access. This is happening as plans are forming on phasing in a return to in-person school, with the youngest and those with special needs coming back first.

And as colleges return and COVID-19 clusters change the way classes resume, we’ll get an update on coronavirus numbers in Mecklenburg County and around the state.

Mike Collins will tackle those stories and much more with our panel of local reporters on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests:

Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal

Nick OchsnerWBTV’s executive producer for investigations and chief investigative reporter

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

David Boraks, reporter for WFAE

The Heat: Race for the White House

Just three months away from the presidential election in the U.S., what does it look like for the two major candidates?

On November 3, millions of Americans will choose ​to either re-elect President Donald Trump or elevate former Vice-President Joe Biden. For now, the polls suggest a victory for Biden.

Trump has been criticized for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the ​resulting economic downturn and social unrest in the country.

To discuss:

  • Mary C. Curtis is a columnist for the political publication Roll Call
  • Eric Bolling is a political commentator and host of ​the program, ‘America This Week.
  • Aaron Mate is Host of “Pushback with Aaron Maté” on The Grayzone
  • Joel Rubin is a Democratic Party strategist

To remember John Lewis, remember the real John Lewis — and his righteous fight

Many Americans, when they remember the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, reflexively turn to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, quoting selective passages about content of character. But my sister Joan, who stood under a shaded tent that day, making signs with freedom slogans for out-of-towners to raise high, had a different answer when I asked for her thoughts. Not to take anything away from King, she told me, “It wasn’t just that speech. It was all the speeches.” And what impressed her teenage self most were the words of a man who was just 23, a few years older than she was.

On that day, John Lewis was already stirring up the “good trouble” he favored when he said: “To those who have said, ‘Be patient and wait,’ we have long said that we cannot be patient. We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now!”

It was a speech that, in an early draft, was a tad fiery for some elders in the movement for equality and justice. Lewis did tone it down — but not enough to lose its urgency.

Some of the tributes to Lewis, who died last week at the age of 80, emphasized his generosity of spirit, evident in his ability to forgive and embrace those who beat him into unconsciousness. But the picture is incomplete without acknowledging the impatience, the fury to make it right, that saw him through more than three dozen arrests, five after he was elected to Congress. Just as those who would have been or probably were in that majority of Americans who considered King a rabble-rouser then and revere him now, many are all too eager to recast Lewis as a secular saint who just wanted everyone to get along.

Of course, they would. It would let them off the hook.

Tribute to John Lewis on Sree Sreenivasan’s call-in show

Coping with COVID-19, Sree Sreenivasan’s call-in show on WBAI in New York City: featuring a tribute to civil rights icon John Lewis

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.

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.

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.

A Special Juneteenth Town Hall Conversation – “Generations in the Making: A Reckoning with America’s History” – Video

ASMP pre-empted our regularly scheduled Friday Town Hall in recognition of Juneteenth. Our distinguished guest is award-winning journalist, educator, speaker and editor Mary C. Curtis.

The current American moment is not only about George Floyd. It’s not only about law enforcement. It’s about the systemic racism that has been present in our society and culture since before the country’s founding. It affects every facet of American life. “Unless we consider that history, it is impossible to understand what’s happening today,” says Curtis. “It’s rooted in the soil of American history.”

ASMP members have a unique ability to frame how others see the world. We must educate ourselves so we can use our gifts to build a just and equitable country.