you're reading...

Cornelius News

Open letter from Unity in Community

Dan Ahlers photo

Rally at Confederate Monument. Photo by Dan Ahlers Photography

July 16. Unity in Community, the grassroots organization that organized the peaceful protest in front of the Confederate Soldier’s monument Tuesday evening, has sent this letter to Cornelius Today:

Unity in Community (UiC) would like to thank our fellow North Mecklenburg residents, particularly those in Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville for coming out to Tuesday’s peaceful protest, for honking their support, for sending their thoughts and prayers, and otherwise showing support for the efforts to remove the Confederate monument adjacent to Mt. Zion United Methodist Church.

Over 150 people attended, all wearing masks and socially distancing as much as possible.  We know that many were there despite their fears of COVID-19 and despite the 90-degree heat.  We loved your energy, your enthusiasm and your civility.  We appreciate you.

We thank all of our speakers.  They each shared their unique perspective and helped UiC to deliver our message as to why the monument must come down.  Thank you, Sen. Natasha Marcus, Mayor Woody Washam, Alex Drakeford, Minister Aurrita Payne, Harold Rice, Jr., Emily Paton, Rabbi David Lipper and Lisa Mayhew-Jones, for your insights, your passion and your commitment to justice and equality for all.  We appreciate you.

We  thank our volunteers for all you did to ensure a peaceful, organized, successful event—from emceeing the program, to helping with the set-up,  directing people,  encouraging drivers to honk their support, taking pictures, sanitizing our equipment,  handing out masks,  communicating with the police and the media,  being “eyes and ears” during the protest and after,  closing down and cleaning up. We appreciate you.

We thank the Cornelius Police Department for all their assistance in helping us to hold a peaceful protest.  They enabled UiC to exercise our right to peacefully protest.  Throughout the two weeks prior to the rally, they stayed in communication with us and made sure that we had everything that we needed.  They blocked off a portion of Zion Avenue to enable protesters to socially distance.  They were professional, courteous, and helpful.  We appreciate you.

We thank the media who covered the protest.  We appreciate the opportunity to share our message broadly and influence some of the people who believe that the monument represents their heritage and their history.  We hope that the Mt. Zion Monumental Association was enlightened and moved to accelerate its deliberations to take down the monument immediately.

And lastly, we thank our UiC supporters.  Your commitment to our mission—to achieve racial justice in North Mecklenburg—inspires us every day. We know that your deep belief in love and justice, in working for racial equity, in the absolute necessity of building true friendships across race, and your desire to increase your knowledge and understanding of race and racism is what brought you out, despite the health danger and the temperature.  And for that, we sincerely appreciate you all.

We know that bringing down the monument will not eliminate racism and may not change the hearts and minds of individuals.  It is, however, a start.  It is one of many steps that must be taken to ensure equality and justice for all.

—Unity in Community