Charlotte was thrust into the national spotlight on Sept. 20 following the fatal police shooting of 43-year old African American Keith Lamont Scott. Emotions ran high throughout the city and campus, with many speaking out against and calling attention to racial injustice.
The morning following the shooting, Chancellor Philip L. Dubois spoke to more than 150 students and other members of the campus community outside the Popp Martin Student Union. He expressed condolences for the death of Scott and stated his support for students to exercise their right to share their concerns. That afternoon the campus participated in a community circle discussion hosted by the Multicultural Resource Center and students held a quiet “die in” to raise awareness, the vigil was noted by The New York Times.
(Pictured, left: A “die in” takes place in the Popp Martin Student Union)
In the days following, students and faculty brought attention to racial injustice and subsequent local unrest through campus events. Organized demonstrations included a public concert for healing and community at Belk Plaza; a “teach-in” with discussion on urban protests and housing segregation in urban environments; a performance of “We Hear You,” a work combining spoken word, music and movement to express solidarity with those who seek justice and equality; and a “blackout,” in which students, faculty and staff participated in a march through a portion of campus. University police estimated the procession at more than 400 people. Campus events culminated with a “White Light Vigil” that attendees described as “inspirational and empowering.” Voices of Eden Gospel Choir performed at the event attended by more than 100 students and alumni. All activities were orderly and peaceful.
(Pictured, left: Students, faculty and staff participate in a march around a portion of campus)
Chancellor Dubois commended the campus community for the meaningful gatherings whose peaceful, yet powerful, demonstrations were in stark contrast to the violence seen in Uptown Charlotte.
“Our students showed that a serious message, thoughtfully delivered, can be heard,” said Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. “The past two weeks have been difficult for many members of our campus community. Over that time, we have seen UNC Charlotte students, staff and faculty thoughtfully express their frustrations and emotions through peaceful protest demonstrations, marches, a candlelight vigil, as well as in classrooms and other group discussions.”
Chancellor Dubois and Lisa Lewis Dubois also have joined other leaders in Charlotte in a statement of support of the city and their commitment to its future.
(Pictured, above: Students and alums take part in the “White Light Vigil,” hosted by Building Better Brothers)