CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – It’s been a year since the murder of George Floyd, and Charleston’s black community is weighing in on what has changed and what hasn’t changed since then.
People in the community said they haven’t really seen many changes within the city, but what has changed is the way people fight for their rights behind the scenes.
“I’ve just been continuously disappointed in our leadership. It’s like they saw there was an open wound and all they did was put a band aid on something that really needed surgery,” said Martec Washington, who led the first local protest in Charleston.
Instead of taking matters to the streets, leaders have found better and smarter ways to fight.
“We go to city council. We approach the mayor. We approach the chief of police. We approach everybody that we can that has power,” Washington said.
If people in power don’t act, they say, the action will come from within.
“What we’re not going to do anymore is wait for someone else to come into our community, decide that they’re going to come and save us, or decide that they’re just simply going to hand over what belongs to us. We’re going to create it and do it ourselves,” said Katonya Hart, Community Activist.
Even though it’s been a year, the conversations still need to happen.
“Unless we have honest dialogue, we’ll never get to the point of where everybody will feel free,” said Bishop Robert Haley, Community Pastor of A More Excellent Way Life Center Church.
Activists said this anniversary is a reminder of how much racial equality is still a long way away.
“The protest might not be on the corner, but it’s definitely happening in each and every person’s life,” Hart said.
Community leaders said they want to see the city be more inclusive and want the police to be more involved with the city.