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We don’t know what to say about gun violence. But, we’ll help you say it.by Matt Olin & Tim Miner on May 7, 2019
Charlotte is our home.
Despite trying our best to escape it after high school, Charlotte drew us back in and has emerged to become a great love of both of our lives.
Charlotte is a source of pride for us. Championing the creativity abilities alive in this city has become our passion and our purpose. It’s not a blind love.
As much as Charlotte enthralls us, it also angers us, frustrates us and saddens us. When we look at our city, we see a community bursting with creative energy and potential.
We also see a place where many people are hurting. A place where many need a helping hand or a hug or acknowledgement that they are heard and that they are loved and valued.
Charlotte is a place where we must learn to see each other more. Not just the people immediately in front of us, but everyone … even those with whom it may seem at first we have no connection or anything in common.
We DO have something in common. We’re Charlotteans.
And, as Charlotteans, we must also see, acknowledge and address that we share the burden of a gun violence epidemic in our city.
Last Tuesday at UNC-Charlotte was a horrific tragedy. It was bookended by gun-related homicides on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday.
In the span of four days, 7 Charlotte residents were killed with guns – Daimeon Johnson, Shalecia Williams, Tyrena Inman, Domingo Venancio-Tapia, Riley Howell, Ellis Parlier and Donqwavias Davis.
Just the day before the shootings at UNC-Charlotte, CMPD Captain Chris Dozier was quoted in The Charlotte Observer saying there was “no rhyme or reason” he could see that 44 homicides had been committed in the Queen City in 2019 … more than triple the homicides in the same period in 2018.
That is truly terrifying. It’s a call to action, but, as we share this, we must confess that we don’t know exactly how to move ahead. We don’t have the answers. Like many of you, we are trying to figure out what we can do.
We know this.
We believe in the power of the Queen City’s creative community to share our feelings about yesterday, ideas about today and hopes for tomorrow. We believe that in that sharing, people can come together, find themselves and, hopefully, find a path forward together.
So, we’re issuing an open call. If you are a Charlotte creative using your art or creative talents to address mental health issues and also ending gun violence, please contact us. We hope you’ll reach out and give us the opportunity to share information in The Biscuit about what you’re doing. We encourage you to apply for a HUG (Helpful Unfettered Gift) so we and our patrons can help you move your idea forward.
We shared this call on Instagram last week. Unsurprisingly, our friend and collaborator, Mike Wirth, was the first to respond. We hope his work below brings you some peace today. We also hope it’s the first of many.
View this post on Instagram
When @cltiscreative spoke to the role of using creativity and making as a healing force, I was humbled. This is a familiar yet incredibly overpowering space for me. I have a lot of thoughts, but this piece spoke to me at this point in my journey. Charlotte is a cultural fabric constantly in the making. I want help weave that culture with my best threads. The Kaddish is not only a prayer for the dead but also a celebration of the living. To celebrate the light of those lost by honoring them in the memory of living. Remember those lost. Protect your sacred spaces with your life. Protect the progress.