“When a white supremacist statue is protected by law, demanding dignity is illegal,” Little said. “When a University spends almost $400,000 to silence and conceal dissent, showing the truth is punished.”
Following Little’s statement, activists Myka Johnson and Glo Merriweather also spoke. Both Johnson and Merriweather are part of Charlotte Uprising, an activist organization known for its role in the 2016 protests following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The two discussed their experiences advocating for racial justice in Charlotte, in addition to addressing the multiple ways in which white supremacy has affected the lives of Black people today.
“When they try to take someone like Maya or myself out of our society, they remove those truths (of the effects of white supremacy),” Merriweather said. “They remove the bodily experience that we had."
UNC history professor Cemil Aydin came out to support Little, who he met through her role as a graduate student in the history department before she became a prominent figure in the Silent Sam controversy.
“She’s very smart, and she cares about justice and historical memory,” Aydin said. “(Her outrage) is very justified.”
The event had a relaxed feel, with several demonstrators sitting on the pavement as Johnson and Merriweather spoke. Attendee Emily Keel said she thinks the session helped restore perspective without the intensity or arrests of previous rallies, and that she blames University police for such violence.
"(Little) has been an advocate for making the community a safer place,” said Keel. “It’s an honor to be with her, and to hear these young people speaking such truth.”
Senior linguistics major Kristen Lavery, who also attended the event, said she has been attending Silent Sam protests since 2017.
“Seeing how angry people were– I think that’s completely justified,” Lavery said. “I just couldn’t not do something about it.”
Little, who still faces charges from the UNC Honor Court, continued to emphasize throughout the event why she has chosen to speak out against the monument.
“Silent Sam is more valuable than every Black student at UNC – that was the legal argument made today,” Little said.