Zianna Oliphant delivered a powerful personal testimony to the city council about growing up black in Charlotte, saying we shouldnt have to feel like this
A nine-year-old Charlotte girls tearful speech about how African Americans are treated differently than other people has gone viral as protests about police brutality continue to ignite the North Carolina city.
Zianna Oliphant could barely keep her composure as she offered powerful testimony at a city council meeting on Monday about growing up black in Charlotte, where the recent fatal police shooting of Keith Scott has renewed national debates about policing.
I feel like that we are treated differently than other people. I dont like how were treated. Just because of our color doesnt mean anything to me, she said before breaking down in tears.
Youre doing a great job! someone in the crowd shouted. Dont stop.
Speaking through sobs, Oliphant continued: We are black people, and we shouldnt have to feel like this. We shouldnt have to protest because yall are treating us wrong. We do this because we need to and have rights.
She said she was raised in Charlotte, adding, Ive never felt this way until now.
I cant stand how were treated, she continued. Its a shame that our fathers and mothers are killed, and we cant even see them anymore. Its a shame that we have to go to their graveyard and bury them. We have tears and we shouldnt have tears. We need our fathers and mothers to be by our side.
The emotional speech earned widespread praise on social media, offering a stark portrayal of the pain caused by the deaths of black Americans at the hands of police.
Riots and peaceful protests escalated over the weekend after police in Charlotte released footage of the death of 43-year-old Scott, who was approached by two plain-clothes officers in an unmarked car when they were allegedly preparing to serve an arrest warrant on an unrelated person.
Police have claimed that the officers saw the man hold a gun up and decided to approach him, but his family has argued that Scott was disabled and unarmed and was sitting in his car reading a book.
Critics have also noted that North Carolina has open-carry laws, meaning that even if Scott had a gun, officers should not have approached and tried to disarm him.
The Counted, the Guardians ongoing investigation of deaths by police, found that in 2015, black people were killed by police at more than twice the rate of white people and were also nearly twice as likely to be unarmed.
Young black men were nine times more likely to be killed than any other group.