Kevin remembers Sept. 21, 2016, the night of the uptown protests, from two perspectives. First as business owner, wondering how his and other local businesses in uptown would keep employees, patrons and property safe throughout the night. The second, as a member of the community wanting to better understand the concerns of his fellow Charlotteans, the concerns that brought them to the streets. The call to listen also inspired Kevin to attend the Sept. 26, 2016, council meeting.
“I wanted to listen. I wanted to understand,” said Kevin. “Maybe I wouldn’t agree with everything that was being said, but I at least wanted to hear people’s viewpoints.”
Kevin believes listening, understanding and finding common ground is a necessary step toward progress for Charlotte and the nation. Even if we believe interactions might be uncomfortable, Kevin believes that we shouldn’t be deterred from being a part of those discussions.
“I want to hear more from the people that are impacted the most by this right now,” Kevin continued. “I want to hear from Charlotte Uprising leadership. I want to hear more from people who have had a murdered family member this year. What do they think? Have they seen any benefits [in the past year]? Do they see a light at the end of the tunnel?”
Kevin has committed himself to encouraging fellow business owners and people who may not have similar life experiences as those who filled the streets last September to have these discussions. Kevin is adamant that dialogue and understanding is the first step toward real positive change.
“There’s plenty to be upset about, but we have to find constructive ways to do it.”