Mondays are supposed to be met with the optimism of a new week. A chance to put your best foot forward after giving yourself the pep talk needed to face whatever realities await you once your feet hit the floor.
Over the weekend, the weather was about as perfect as I could expect with the confused winter/spring Charlotte has been having. I cleared a hectic schedule to kick it with longtime friends and celebrate a birthday/housewarming. Coming off this past weekend, it should’ve been the makings for a good Monday.
By the time Monday, March 25, ended, the city was tense following two incidents that drew groups of protesters.
That morning, a group of protesters gathered across the street from a Burger King on Beatties Ford Road near I-85. Around 9 a.m., officers responded to multiple 911 calls about an armed man at the restaurant. The restaurant’s parking lot was the scene where 27-year-old Danquirs Napoleon Franklin was shot and killed during an encounter with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Wende Kerl.
There were conflicting accounts about whether Franklin was armed. According to CMPD, the officer perceived a lethal threat and shot Franklin after repeated orders to drop his gun. Eyewitnesses claim that he was unarmed and defending a woman who was being harassed. It’s an ongoing investigation.
Later in the day, a group of community activists gathered at the Pizza Peel in Plaza Midwood. Andrew Woods, a former bartender at the restaurant, organized the meeting following his termination last week. Woods was involved in a social media feud with a conservative political group called “Deplorable Pride.” He was fired because of it. To clarify, the firing was not the issue; the method of firing was (which included police officers to escort him out, according to Woods). In a Facebook post, Woods said separate from losing his job “the issue that requires urgent community reaction is the use of the police as a weapon to protect white comfort at the direct cost of the well-being of a non-white person.”
It’s hard not to draw a parallel to the strife going on in neighborhoods across the country. As a Black woman, I don’t exist in the fantasyland that people will always do right by each other, nor do I want to be a complete pessimist and say that every disagreement between minorities and the majority is at the hands of racism. But, that delicate balance of finding how to live among each other is being tested.
These types of incidents aren’t new. The spotlight on the gap between the haves and have-nots is shining brighter, making these events seem more common.
It would be great if there were no more stories to tell of social unjust because these incidents no longer happened. That the heaviness of yesterday didn’t warrant the “here we go again” attitude that I gave it.
And just like that, it’s Tuesday. Where do we go from here?
Note: updated to clarify that the Pizza Peel protest wasn’t about Andrew Woods’ firing but about using the “police as a weapon.”
Katrina Louis is managing editor of qcitymetro.com who can always find something to do in Charlotte. She’s an offline hustler (and has the shirt to prove it) but when online, find her on Instagram and Twitter.