The little girl had tears streaming from her eyes as she stood on a step ladder and gave an emotional address. “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. We shouldn’t have tears. We need our fathers and mothers to be by our side.”
The little girl is Zianna Oliphant. And the powerful moment came during the first city council meeting in Charlotte on Monday night following nearly a week of protests in the wake of a fatal police shooting that claimed the life of 43-year-old Keith Scott. While most of the country was focused on the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, angst boiled over in the Charlotte city council chamber.
The city and its people are still reeling after video shot by Scott’s wife and police body cameras failed to clear up why exactly Scott, who was waiting to pick up his child from school, ended up mortally wounded by police gunfire on September 20. Police have maintained Scott was holding a gun, but his wife said all he had in his hand was a book.
Raw emotion was on full display at the meeting, where the Pledge of Allegiance was recited at the outset. Many chose not to stand during the pledge, as is customary. During the meeting, according to USA Today, dozens spoke and lashed out at the mayor and police over the handling of the case. Some called for them to resign as tensions ran high.
But, amid all of the sound and fury, there was little Zianna delivering a simple yet profound message that signaled a wisdom and poise beyond her years.
“I’ve been born and raised in Charlotte. And I never felt this way till now and I can’t stand how we’re treated,” she said, sobbing. Watch her full statement before the city council in the video below.
Read the full story at CNN.