Mayor: Now is time to stand against hatred and racism
Editor's Note: Mayor Kutteh delivered the following remarks at Monday night's Statesville City Council meeting.
BY COSTI KUTTEH
The City of Statesville grieved with the citizens of Charleston after the terrible shooting of nine church members in 2015 by a young man filled with hate. After that shooting, we gathered for a prayer vigil and resolved to love each other more.
The life of Statesville native Tevin Eugene Crosby was remembered in 2016 with community-wide vigils and a special City proclamation after his young life was cut short in a mass murder in Orlando.
Far too many times, the people of Statesville have had to stand together to comfort one another and seek answers for ending the violence.
But that's what is so beautiful about Statesville - we do stand together when hate results in violence and injustice. We stand together - even when we disagree – because we want our community to be a place where all of our citizens are treated fairly, where individuals are respected, where we find strength – not division – in our diversity.
We want Statesville to be a place where we can agree to disagree, and still feel connected and hopeful about our future. It's hard work and we often miss the mark. But we keep moving forward.
Tonight, we find ourselves again saddened and horrified at the recent violence in our country. We are reeling from the numerous injuries and the death of Heather Heyer caused by an act of violence in Charlottesville on August 12 – an act so appalling, we can hardly believe it.
So much has already been said. So many judgments have already been stated and so many responses – both violent and peaceful – have been made. But Statesville cannot let this moment go by without standing together again – first, to offer sympathy to the people of Charlottesville and secondly, to remind ourselves that Statesville is a place of love and compassion.
Inclusion and diversity must be at the heart of our community's actions. As your Mayor, I encourage you to be intentional in your efforts to meet people from cultures different than your own – to shop at their stores and eat in their restaurants. Listen more and talk less. Be aware of when an action or conversation generates your own prejudiced thoughts and reframe it with thoughts of "All men are created equal." Speak up when you hear an inappropriate comment.
This is Statesville's moment to stand together and denounce hatred and racism. This is our time to resolve that we will stand together day after day after day – so that at the end of each day – love wins.