My Turn: Gemale A. Black — Silenced citizen deserves an apology

Published 7:01 am Monday, August 21, 2017

In response to Carolyn Logan being escorted from a City Council meeting:

Amid the wake of the insidious rhetoric of our nation’s leader that insists that there are two sides to every story he must have found himself in the chamber hall of Salisbury, North Carolina, on Tuesday when one of our very own citizens, Mrs. Carolyn Logan, was badgered and silenced in the most demeaning manner I have ever seen, particularly by an elected official.

There has been a lot of tension since the Charlottesville protest and given the temperature of the political climate in which we are currently in this is preposterous and unacceptable behavior rendered by our Mayor Karen Alexander, Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell, and Councilman Brian Miller. Salisbury has a rich history of racial tension and disparity, however we will no longer sit silent to the injustice that plagues taxpaying citizens.

The Salisbury-Rowan Branch of the NAACP demands that an immediate apology be given to Mrs. Carolyn Logan and to the city of Salisbury for this unruly behavior from the leadership that has been elected to serve the people. We are certain that we do not have to remind you all that the chamber belongs to the people, we simply allow you to occupy your positions.

We in no fashion will accept this behavior from any of our elected officials. We feel that this was a calculated personal attack on a citizen that duly exercised her first amendment right to freedom of speech and she not only abided by the first amendment she also followed chamber rules and decorum.

Beyond the scope of this abysmal incident we feel that chamber rules should be changed during public comment to better represent the citizens and their right to challenge as well as hold accountable our elected officials.

As a final thought, in the words of one of our founding members, W.E.B. Du Bois, “I believe in Liberty for all men: the space to stretch their arms and their souls, the right to breathe and the right to vote, the freedom to choose their friends, enjoy the sunshine, and ride on the railroads, uncursed by color; thinking, dreaming, working as they will in a kingdom of beauty and love.”

We the Salisbury-Rowan Branch of the NAACP feel that the citizens of our city deserve to have a voice and be heard.

Gemale A. Black  is president of the Salisbury-Rowan NAACP.

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