Zianna Oliphant may be little, but she’s got a big voice and a powerful message.
In the wake of Keith Lamont Scott‘s controversial killing at the hands of a plainclothes officer with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, people took to the streets to protest.
And, on Monday, Charlotte City Council held its first meeting since the demonstrations erupted.
During the meeting, 9-year-old Zianna stood behind the podium, emotionally addressing racism and police shootings before the council, saying:
“I came here today to talk about how I feel, and I feel like we are treated differently than other people. And, I don’t like how we’re treated just because of our color. Doesn’t mean anything to me.”
The little girl began to break down, and exclaimed, with tears streaming down her face:
“We are black people and we shouldn’t have to feel like this. We shouldn’t have to protest because y’all are treating us wrong. We do this because we need to, and have rights.”
Through her tears, the inspiring youngster composed herself, and continued:
“I was born and raised in Charlotte, and I never felt this way till now. 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. It’s a shame that we have to go to the graveyard and bury them. We have tears, and we shouldn’t have tears. We need our fathers and mothers to be by our side.”
Last week, Keith was tragically killed in North Carolina after officer Brentley Vinson shot him, while in the area to serve a warrant to a different man.
Police claim Mr. Scott made a threatening move with a gun, while the victim’s family insists he was simply sitting in his car, reading a book.
You can watch Zianna’s entire, moving speech (above).