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.

 

‘There are no degrees of separation’ — How the Charleston church shooting looms over the current racial justice debate

It’s been five years since the deadly, racist-motivated shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina But the scars are still present in the current debate over racial justice, Black Lives Matter and the legacy of white supremacist ideology.

CQ Roll Call columnist Mary C. Curtis talks to Political Theater about how the tragedy in Charleston still resonates as the United States grapples with its ugly history.

Will cries of justice resonate with Trump voters of faith?

For so long, the Supreme Court was the deal-maker and -breaker for white evangelicals and, to a lesser extent, white Catholics and their unshakable partnership with the Republican Party. The GOP knew it in ways the Democratic Party never did, to its peril come election time. In 2016, with a narrow victory, President Donald Trump won the right to transform the federal judiciary and, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s help, has delivered.

But with the court’s decision this week protecting the rights of gay and transgender workers, written by Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, Trump’s prime-time appointee, some of those voters were a little shook. This would not be the only reason to wonder if Trump is losing his grip, if only a bit, on his most faithful (no pun intended) voting base.

While there is no reason to think that those guided by socially conservative beliefs will turn en masse to the Democrats and Joe Biden — better the thrice-married devil you know — a few in that group may be considering issues of life and rights in more nuanced ways. You can see it in the sometimes clumsy but also heartfelt reflections on the growing protests proclaiming “Black Lives Matter” and demanding police reform.

How open are faith leaders to the cries for justice from their flock and from “the least of these”? And if actions to eliminate inequality matter, will the Trump administration be evaluated and found wanting? Not that it would trigger a seismic shift away from a candidate and a man who is transactional in all the ways that matter. But might it initiate a conversation centered on the words of that good book Trump brandished but never bothered to open in his infamous photo op in front of St. John’s Church?

Dateline Awards for work published, broadcast in 2019 announced online in historic first for SPJ DC Chapter

The ceremony was virtual — no big dinner at the National Press Club. But great news nonetheless: I won the SPJ DC Dateline Award for Online columns for my work at CQ/Roll Call. Announced Tuesday night.

POLITICAL WRAP: CMPD & Chemical Agents; Protest Reaction Worldwide

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Monday night, Charlotte City Council will talk about the use of chemical agents on protesters.

It comes as the SBI is looking into tactics officers used on Tuesday night.

Also, how protests for racial justice across the country are now getting worldwide attention.

Click above for more with WCCB Charlotte Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis.