City’s proposed resolution of reconciliation
Here is the text of the Salisbury City Council’s proposed “Resolution of Reconciliation,” which was discussed during Tuesday’s meeting.
RESOLUTION OF RECONCILIATION
WHEREAS, the act of reconciliation is a bringing together of that which has been divided; and
WHEREAS, when a community suffers a deep hurt, it is wise to address the harm; and a way to do this is to engage in restorative justice; and
WHEREAS, restorative justice is a process whereby all identified stakeholders come together to collectively resolve an offense and its impact on the present and the future; and
WHEREAS, restorative justice creates space to build empathy and understanding between the victim and the offender…for each other; and
WHEREAS, the ultimate goal of restorative justice is to achieve a sense of healing by diligently and intentionally repairing the harm done to the victim, the offender and the community; and
WHEREAS, Friday the 13th, in July of 1906, brought with it the tragic and brutal deaths of four white murder victims in Unity and the neighboring townships in Rowan County; and
WHEREAS, the names and ages of these victims were Isaac Lyerly – 68, Augusta Barringer Lyerly – 42, John H. Lyerly – 8, and Alice Lyerly – 6; and
WHEREAS, shock and despair propelled our Salisbury community towards violent action because of the overt racial hatred for and racial violence towards African Americans in the United States and locally; and,
WHEREAS, the judge, bearing responsibility for this case, called in local military soldiers to maintain order, because the officials in charge of the local government and the community were steeped in bias, bigotry, racism, violence and hate — creating an environment which did not favor or provide due process and protection for those accused and detained; and
WHEREAS, the soldiers, being aligned with the same prejudiced beliefs as the local government officials and the community, did nothing to stop the white mob from storming the county jail the night of August 6, 1906 and abducting three accused African American males; and
WHEREAS, the names and ages of the accused were Jack Dillingham – in his late 20’s or 30’s, Nease Gillespie – 55, and his son John Gillespie – 14 or 15; who were marched to a nearby field; and
WHEREAS, the mob hung them by their necks from a tree; tortured and molested them and lastly riddled their bodies with bullets…bringing more brutal death; and
WHEREAS, this horrible occurrence in our City left a gaping, unresolved harm that taints present day human interaction and stunts the growth of authentic equity and prohibits bone deep healing.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, We, the City Council of Salisbury, do hereby resolve to begin and participate in the reconciliation process, by apologizing for our government’s role in this atrocity and formally acknowledging the unjust lynching of the afore named African Americans in our community. We also offer our heartfelt condolences to all the descendants of those senselessly murdered on July 13, 1906 by intruders and those murdered on August 6, 1906 due to the systemic and institutional violence based in racial hatred.
We must all work diligently to eradicate bias, prejudice, bigotry, violence, racism and hate; and be intentional in our efforts to build fairness, open-mindedness, peace, anti-racism and love;
This the 7th day of August 2018
— Mayor Al Heggins