For a few minutes Wednesday night, the sound of cicadas and whooshing traffic on Old Concord Road floated over the parking lot where Keith Scott died, as supporters held a moment of silence to honor him and Justin Carr.
Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of when Scott was shot and killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer, spurring protests that sparked national attention and a renewed conversation about racism and police brutality in Charlotte. Carr was fatally shot during the second night of protests uptown.
Vivian Carr told the crowd of more than 70 that she’s proud of her son. “My son died for a cause,” she said, inspired by his grandmother’s activism during the Civil Rights era. His son was born a month after Carr’s death, she said.
Activist Ash Williams said Scott and Carr should not have died. “They were taken away from our community, from their family,” she said.
“A lot of Charlotte institutions say all we want is to be ‘heard.’ … We must start holding people accountable,” Williams said.
Carr’s aunt, Delores Carr, recalled her own memories of protesting in the 1960s: confronting police dogs, fire hoses and other violence.
What happened to Carr and Scott, she said, never should have happened.
“You got good police, and you got bad police,” she said. “They come to your community, and you gotta engage with them.”
Others at the vigil, holding candles and incense, reminded the crowd to keep up their activism and pressure local politicians, or risk fading from public view as the events recede.
The evening ended with tears, the singing of Aaliyah’s “Miss You” and the lighting of two candles inside sky lanterns, meant to symbolize the lost lives. After a few moments, they floated into the sky above the apartment complex.
“Rest in power, Justin Carr,” organizers shouted. “Rest in power, Keith Lamont Scott.”