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Demonstration in Manteo addresses racial inequality

Some 500 people gathered on the lawn in front of the College of The Albemarle Dare campus in Manteo on June 9.

Dare Minority Coalition had originally planned to take a few moments of silence to acknowledge those who have died due to police brutality. After gaining support from local law enforcement and the community, DMC decided to instead hold a demonstration with several speakers.

The individuals who spoke included DMC President Rashad Daniels; George Carver, executive director of DMC; Ebony Selby, vice president of DMC; Radasha Gregory, DMC secretary; Dr. Michelle Lewis, youth pastor at Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church; Keke Pledger; Dare County Sherriff Doug Doughtie; Manteo Police Chief Vance Haskett; Coquetta Laverna C. Brooks; Darrell Collins; Rev. Dr. Thomas Priest Jr.; and Rev. David Morris.

People of all ages, from younger children to elderly couples, were in attendance.

The crowd joined Tshombe Selby, an opera singer and native to the Outer Banks, in song to start, while holding signs speaking out against police brutality and racial inequality. Dr. and Pastor Michelle Lewis had everyone join her in 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence, in remembrance of George Floyd.

“In the black community, we’ve been living without proper personal protective equipment, PPE, not because we haven’t wanted it, but because it couldn’t be bought. Because you can’t buy protection from racism,” Lewis voiced to the crowd.

Haskett and Doughtie joined members of DMC after Lewis to express their feelings on recent national events and how it has affected the Outer Banks community.

“I acknowledge there is definitely racism that African Americans experience. I also acknowledge it should never exist and I will not tolerate it in my police force, or in any walk of my personal life,” said Haskett.

Doughtie agreed: “The death of George Floyd goes against everything that a law enforcement officer has ever been,” he said. “This day gives us the opportunity to show everyone what a community can be to one another, and from the looks of everyone out here, this is a wonderful community.”

Daniels was pleased with the turnout from the community as well. “We need to have open dialogue, that’s what we’re doing today,” he said.

Justice was mentioned by almost everyone who took the stage on Tuesday. The justice system, and justice for all. The term captured the crowd and made for a resonating evening.

Moderator Ebony Selby made note that voter registration booths were available for the public. “Be diligent in our justice system, in our elections from top to bottom . . . don’t become dormant in our elections, stay involved,” she spoke.

“We must inspire change in the world with hope that injustice will fail and justice will prevail . . . we will fear the darkness no more.” said Daniels.

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