The city of Charlotte, North Carolina, was rocked by riots last week after police officers there fatally shot a 43-year-old black man, Keith Lamont Scott.
And to one little girl, enough is enough.
Nine-year-old Zianna Oliphant took the podium at a contentious city-council meeting on Monday, six days after Scott’s death.
“I’ve come here today to talk about how I feel, and I feel like we are treated differently than other people,” Oliphant said. “I don’t like how we’re treated. Just because of our color – doesn’t mean anything to me.”
Oliphant, holding back tears, was encouraged by audience members to continue speaking.
“We are black people and we shouldn’t have to feel like this,” she said. “We shouldn’t have to protest because y’all are treating us wrong.”
Oliphant said she was “born and raised in Charlotte” and that she had never felt this way until now.
“We do this because we need to and to have rights,” she said. “And I can’t stand how we’re treated. It’s a shame that our fathers and mothers are killed and we can’t even see them anymore.”
- Sean Rayford/Getty Images
“And we have tears, and we shouldn’t have tears,” Oliphant said. “We need our fathers and mothers to be by our side.”
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released police bodycam footage of Scott’s shooting on Saturday, after tensions grew between protesters and city authorities.
The department’s chief, Kerr Putney, said in a news conference on Saturday that the video didn’t explicitly show Scott pointing a gun at police officers when he was fatally shot. The police have said Scott was holding a gun, while Scott’s family says he was holding a book.
Watch Oliphant’s full speech below: