This week, Charlotte has been a site of protest and violence following the death of Keith Scott, who was shot by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Officer Brentley Vinson. Scott is one of many black men killed in police-involved shootings — one of at least 194 in just 2016 — and students are trying to cope with it happening so close to home.
“The first thing I felt was tired,” Mahogany Monette, student director of the North Carolina Fellows Program, said. “I think as a black female it’s really difficult to just watch this continue.”
Other students have been feeling similar emotions.
“It’s incredibly shocking and disheartening that this is still the state that we’re in,” Lauren Eaves, co-president of the Campus Y, said.
“I’m angry and I am into the support as an ally to any students of color in whatever way that they would.”
Sophomore Kameron Southerland said with all of the violent incidents occurring lately, all she can do is worry.
“It kind of happens so much nowadays that you can’t help but worry,” she said.
“I have two brothers so you can’t help but worry about what people see when they see them and what people think.”
Students are taking different steps to cope with these events.
“I know a lot of my friends have been taking self-care days,” Monette said. “I work in a really amazing office on campus that’s been really understanding of what’s going (on) and they’ve opened up some of their offices as safe spaces just for us to process.”
The Department of Housing and Residential Education emailed students on Thursday offering an open space to reflect in light of the recent events. Chancellor Folt also emailed students after the shooting and protests.
“I want to reassure you that we are and will continue to do everything in our power to ensure Carolina is a safe and welcoming place,” Chancellor Carol Folt said in her email.
She said that campus counseling is available to those who are affected by these events.
“I never watch the videos. That’s a way of not being totally exposed to it,” Southerland said. “It happens so often you’re almost becoming numb to it and it’s horrible ... It’s horrible that it has just turned into like ‘oh another one.’”
Students are still feeling the effects personally.
“We are walking around campus and we’re hurting. We’re trying to take time to process this, but people are walking around as if there is nothing wrong, as if it’s just another day at Carolina,” Monette said.
“I feel like almost every other day you’re reading about another black person who has been killed by the police.”