The Flier I Passed Out at the Library Meeting; On the Saturday, June 29, 2013 Downtown Greensboro “Riot”;
Approximately 10,000 mostly African American teens identified with Greensboro's Midnight Basketball were invited downtown via multiples of media outlets by the Midnight Basketball affiliated Summer Night Lights program. Those invited were expected to sit quietly and watch "The Amazing Spider Man" featuring a mostly white cast, in the midst of a bustling/fun city.
As Billy Jones reported; "It seems the reasons for Mayor Perkins' proposed downtown curfew may be of his own making. Last Saturday night, Downtown Greensboro Inc invited teens to their free Summer Night Lights (SNL) Movie Night from 7-11 pm at Festival Park, 200 N. Davie St., in Downtown Greensboro."
The City of Greensboro organized and marketed a free event in downtown Greensboro, after which a series of unfortunate, less than well controlled events occurred, which concluded in nationally inaccurate reporting including misleading information apparently disseminated by Mayor Robbie Perkins, the commercial property real estate agent for Center Pointe, in front of which crowds were dispersed with pepper spray etc..., across the street from where the movie played.
Most of Greensboro's City Council chose to believe a version of events that essentially didn't happen to pass a restrictive curfew for all the city's teens, including my youngest daughter.
News & Record Editor Jeff Gauger wrote; "The city Parks and Recreation Department did our cops no good deed last Saturday in inviting teens to a movie showing in Festival Park, as candidate Hartzman has pointed out. [The city’s] assertion that the movie had “absolutely no correlation” to fights that night is — how can I put this in a family newspaper? — complete bunk."
City Council advocated and spent taxpayer money to revamp a downtown on the cusp of some of the poorest parts of Greensboro without foreseeing the unintended consequences, and now many on "the other side of town" feel unwelcome to congregate where we put a civil rights museum.
Let’s agree on the facts before exploring a solution to a problem partly trumped up by the powers that be, which have outstayed their welcome.