‘We Shouldn’t Have Tears’ 9 Year Old BLM Protester’s Testimony Goes Viral (VIDEO)
But fortunately it did.
This nine-year-old protester spoke volumes
Young Zianna Oliphant was testifying in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.
“I’ve been born and raised in Charlotte, and I’ve never felt this way ‘til now,” she said. “And I can’t stand how we’re treated. It’s a shame that our fathers and mothers are killed, and we can’t even see them anymore. It’s a shame that we have to go to the graveyard and bury them. And we have tears, and we shouldn’t have tears. We need our fathers and mothers to be by our side.”
Sometimes tearful, Zianna struggled to keep her composure. But she soldiered on.
“I feel that we are treated differently than other people. I don’t like how we’re treated. Just because of our color doesn’t mean anything to me,” she said, breaking down in tears.
“You’re doing a great job!” yelled one person in the audience. “Don’t stop.”
Sobbing quietly, the little girl was barely tall enough to reach the microphone.
“We are black people, and we shouldn’t have to feel like this. We shouldn’t have to protest because y’all are treating us wrong. We do this because we need to and have rights.”
Zianna’s speech drew widespread praise across the social media as a stark reminder of the suffering of black Americans. Suffering caused by police, in a country critically polarized by racism.
Riots and peaceful protests marked the weekend after Charlotte police released footage of Scott’s death. He was approached by two plain-clothes officers in an unmarked police car and they were allegedly preparing to serve an arrest warrant to an unrelated person.
Police claim the officers saw Scott hold up a gun and decided to approach him. However his family has said Scott was disabled and unarmed and was sitting in his car reading a book.
But North Carolina also has open-carry laws, so even if Scott had a gun, officers shouldn’t have approached and attempted to disarm him.
With the killing of Keith Lamont Scott, protesters took to the streets all across the U.S., and videos of a number of high-profile incidents have gone viral in recent months. And as The Guardian notes in The Counted, an ongoing investigation of deaths by police in 2015, black people were killed by police at more than twice the rate of white people. Even sadder still, blacks were nearly twice as likely to be unarmed. Young black men were nine times likelier to be killed by police than any other group.
A quiet, commanding voice
So when this young protester took the stand and spoke, people listened. And she was compelling. The only people who would not be moved by Zianna’s speech are those who are dead from the neck up. Or Donald Trump supporters.
The next day, the young protester talked a little bit more about what she felt when she testified.
“I was just feeling like what the police are doing to us, just because of our skin, is not right,” Zianna told NBC News, “and I was kind of emotional because, like, the things I said is like powerful to me, so that’s why I started crying.”
Her mom, Precious Oliphant, said that her kids are in a police youth league. They have grown up looking up to police as role models, but they have also witnessed discrimination in their everyday lives. Including the times when she has been pulled over for what she believes are irrelevant issues, she said.
“I was also emotional because I shouldn’t have to enlighten my kids on discrimination and racism,” Precious said. She noted that protesters do not hate the police.
“We hate how we are treated by the police, how we are targeted by the police,” she told NBC News.
Zianna said she’s going to ignore people who talk about her and “move on with my day.”
“Kids, they’re, like, shy,” she said. “But I’m not shy to tell them how I feel about it.”
And people are listening. She may speak in a quiet voice, but this young protester speaks volumes. I wish I could give her a hug.
At the time of this writing, the YouTube video below has had nearly 47,000 views.
[brid video=”66436″ player=”5260″ title=”Zianna Oliphant a young girl gave emotional testimony to Charlotte City Council”]
Screencap courtesy of AU/YouTube