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Historic West End residents denounce attack, errant link
Three killed at Monday block party
Published Monday, June 22, 2020 9:20 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Historic West End residents gathered Monday to denounce an early Monday shooting that left three people dead and six injured at a Beatties Ford Road block party. Organizers of a June 19 Juneteenth celebration maintain the block party was not linked to their event.

Historic West End residents are tired of being misrepresented.

The community celebrated Juneteenth with a Liberation Drive-Thru on Friday evening but woke up to violence Monday.

Organizers of the June 19 event held a press conference this afternoon in Historic West End to address the shooting during a block party that was separate from the Liberation Drive-Thru. The shooting on the 1800 block on Beatties Ford Road left three dead and six hospitalized. Five were struck by vehicles. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have yet to apprehend a suspect.

Juneteenth, which celebrates emancipation among enslaved people in the former Confederate States in 1865, has become more popular among African Americans in recent years and took on more of a national profile amid a push for racial and social over the past month. 

“Juneteenth is the celebration of liberation and freedom,” said Wisdom Jzar, one of the organizers and owner of Deep Roots Community Planning Solutions. “It was about family and communities getting together and trying to form the community that they wanted after coming from such a hardship in slavery. We wanted to bring that same essence here. On Friday from 6-8:30 p.m. that’s what we did.”

Historic West End is filled with neighborhood groups like For the Struggle, which focuses on combating racial and social injustice, and was founded by Alesha Brown. She was joined by business owners and community leaders in response to the violence at the press conference.

“I stand here today representing the organizers representing the Juneteenth Liberation Drive-Thru,”Brown said. “Last night two [at the time], individuals of our community tragically lost their lives and others were injured during an impromptu block party, unrelated to Friday’s drive-thru. We want to extend our deepest condolences to the families, whose Father’s Day weekends will never be the same again. We also wish a full recovery to every person who was injured. We must acknowledge that the most important part of our community is the people in our community, and we stand together with those families.”

Brown also said media reported the celebrations from Friday were linked to other events throughout the weekend. She pointed out that they were not connected.

“[Friday] was executed with love,” Brown said. “It was executed with unity. It was executed with community and without any incident. We organized that event to celebrate black culture and black pride. That event reflected the collective work and responsibility that is needed to revitalize this Historic West End corridor and our beloved Beatties Ford Road.”

Brown pointed out the precautions taken during their event, from social distancing and masks to community security.

“We understand that others gathered this weekend in celebration of the corridor and we are very happy that they did so,” Brown said. “Although we are happy that they were able to celebrate and gather on their own, it is imperative that we state that we did not organize or participate in any other event other than the June 19 Liberation Drive-Thru. However, we are a community. We stand with everyone in their celebrations and we are here to continue our work with, in and for the community.”

Brown was also joined by  J’Tanya Adams of Historic West End Partners; Wisdom and Cherie Jzar of Deep Roots Community Planning Solutions; Tiffany Fant of SolNation; Reggie Singleton of the Male’s Place; Bernetta Powell of West End Seafood; Don Thomas of My Brother’s Keeper; Jarrod Jones, board member for McCrorey YMCA; and Maarifa Ukweli of the League of Intelligence. 

Commitment to advancing Historic West End is critical to all who attended.

“The tragedy that occurred last night does not deter us, but further demonstrates why it is important for us to collaborate with community,” Fant said.

Said Singleton: “There is a lot of strength in this community—good things that are happening, but at the same time there is a need to develop our youth, to develop an economic market here, [and improve] healthcare and education.”



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