Kenny Hardin, Salisbury City Councilman
♦ Yes, I’m outraged right now but for a different reason. I’m upset because of all the hypocrisy, fake concern, and those who have done nothing but turn a blind eye and wag a judgmental finger are now coming out of the woodwork trying to get some type of recognition from this tragedy. Where have y’all been?
Even the editorial in the Salisbury newspaper: “Will This Be a Wakeup Call?” is baseless and ridiculous. How many more wakeup calls are you going to need to grab a headline and motivate people to action? With all the continual crime and violence, everyone should up and at ’em by now. Were you not awake enough when 13 year old Treasure Feamster was killed 7-8 years ago? Didn’t y’all exploit that enough back then before you went back to sleep and showed how little you’ve cared about the gun violence in the Black community and the city overall? Where has the outrage been after every unsolved murder and the endless parade of shootings up to this weekend?
A march for love, really? All the marching does is get you winded without doing anything to really get tired. Where was the love for the Black lives matter march a few months ago? The fact that a march like that was needed to highlight that anyone has to plead for basic human rights and dignity makes any other march for love almost farcical and irrelevant. This is not to criticize those who came out and walked with the best intentions, but where have your well intentioned voices and caring hearts been on issues not so vanilla and safe?
I saw one tweet where someone feigned exasperation because of “Hell Night.” I’m sorry your having to hear about this tragedy from the comfort of your den was so traumatic. But, there are people who experience this hell firsthand on a nightly basis. Why haven’t you been so descriptive about all the other hell nights? I’m happy people who are now so outraged got to experience what others have been going through for 20 years with no concern or relief.
We would much rather plant trees and lay bricks down on a corner, have police line dance with kids, and erect peace poles thinking those are solutions. What is our economic development plan and crime control plan for the city? Where has all the federal gang grant money been spent, so we could avoid having so many needed wake up calls?
People come to City Council meetings and beg for relief, and we sit stoned faced and don’t respond. We do nothing to instill trust or foster and build a relationship with the people in our challenged communities of color. But we easily criticize them for not being willing to work with the police. Is community policing working when you have no relationship with the community? I’m tired of the feel good clichés that read well in the paper but have no teeth or demonstrate actual progress. We can say it takes a village, but what is the recourse when you have a village of idiots?
Every time there is tragedy, the City goes to the same tired playbook. Instead of involving people with relationships, leverage and expertise, addressing the issue head on and putting strategies and interventions into place, you trot out pastors to sing and pray. We saw how well that worked out at the last vigil march. Once they have done your bidding and the dust has settled, its back to business as usual with nothing done or changed.
The Black community is not without fault. You holler Black lives matter, but don’t act like it. Tragedies like this are treated like a side hustle game for relevance and notoriety. Everyone is trying to make a dollar, get their name and picture in the paper or eat at the Country Club. You spend two hours in church every Sunday praying and shouting, but won’t come volunteer an hour at our literacy program.
You criticize people like me who are out here sacrificing and fighting for improvement, but give a pass to those outside the community who continually show you how little they care. You won’t attend a community meeting or sacrifice your comfort to find a solution within, but will attend every zodiac, day, black or white boogaloo party function. If it’s Black and wrong, you act like it’s above being called out and challenged. You smile when nothing is funny, scratch where you don’t itch and apologize when you have done nothing wrong.
At the Livingstone parade, I had a woman stop me on the route to complain that the Mayor didn’t show up for a West End meeting and she was visibly angry saying they didn’t get a call to explain or apologize. The Mayor was walking the same route as I was, but instead of approaching and addressing her, she smiled and waved as the Mayor walked by. I told her I didn’t get the courtesy of knowing there was a meeting and told her she should speak to the Mayor and walked off.
You won’t come out and vote, yet complain about how devalued you are. You’re quick to criticize me, who is fighting for your best interests, but won’t speak up for me when I’m being publicly disrespected. You’ve told me how appalled, ashamed and embarrassed you are of the way I fight for change, but you have no shame in calling me asking for help. You have no seat at the table where decisions are being made about your progress because of a refusal to get involved on boards and committees.
Yes, I’m salty, critical, and pissed off. I’m tired of the gun violence and killing, but I’m equally tired of all the phony concern and fake outrage being displayed by those who have not shown one minute of concern or involvement up to this point. If I see anyone exploiting this tragedy I will call you out and challenge you.