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Zianna Oliphant’s tearful message at Charlotte City Council meeting

The 9-year-old’s words will hopefully spark change

When 9-year-old Zianna Oliphant delivered an emotional speech at a Charlotte City Council meeting in North Carolina last Monday, she didn’t know she would receive national attention. She tearfully spoke out against violence and made an emotional call for help.

Several people addressed the council before Oliphant calling for police resignations. Meanwhile, Oliphant was preparing her words.

“It’s a shame that our fathers and mothers are killed and we can’t see them anymore,” she said. “It’s a shame that we have to go to their graveyard and bury them. And we have tears. We shouldn’t have tears. We need our fathers and mothers to be by our side.”

Her words were spoken in response to the killing of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte by police on Sept. 20. Police officers were serving a warrant on someone who was a resident in Scott’s complex. The officers thought he made a threatening move with a gun and an officer shot and killed him.

“I’ve been born and raised in Charlotte and I never felt this way till now, and I can’t stand how we’re treated,” Oliphant said. “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.”

Kelley Evans is a general editor at The Undefeated. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.