I’ve always had a love loathe relationship with Rev. Al Sharpton. As a child, I watched Sharpton standing in front of any and every television camera and microphone speaking up for what seemed like any black person who felt they’d been wronged by the Man.
I always preferred the more smooth-talking manner of Jessie “I Am Somebody” Jackson over Sharpton’s street preacher style. As an adult, I’ve had the opportunity to cover social justice issues in Charlotte. My days as a reporter and a columnist gave me a nuanced respect for Sharpton’s clout. When I’ve written about injustices done to gays and lesbians, Hispanics or other minorities, I realized every ethnic minority needs a Sharpton.
He’s the person African Americans turn to when they feel they have nowhere else to go. His presence typically brings a national spotlight to injustices that would often be ignored or trivialized in local communities. He shines a light on the people living in the shadows of our communities. Sharpton stopped by the Radio One Charlotte studios on Friday on his way to a rally in South Carolina.