Wilmington Councilman Kevin Spears on Race Issues, Relationship with Law Enforcement
Kevin Spears focused his campaign for city council on the priorities of Wilmington’s underserved citizens. Now, six months in office, he spoke with WHQR’s Hannah Breisinger about the biggest issues facing the city’s black community.
Councilman Spears -- you’ve been in office for six months. And as the topic of police brutality is a huge national conversation right now -- how do you feel about the relationship between the black community and law enforcement here?
“I think the relationship between law enforcement and the black community here needs an improvement. I would say that. I think that we're under a new regime now, you know there’s Interim Chief Donny Williams here, he's going to have some different approaches than the previous chief.
And we had a good working relationship with Chief Evangelous. But Chief Williams is new. He has some new ideas, and we're hoping to see some new things. We're hoping to see some improvement. We're hoping that the issues that citizens have or have had in the past will be worked on in a different manner. And we're hoping for some more transparency as it relates to law enforcement and the black community.”
And what do you think are the biggest issues impacting the black community in Wilmington today?
“Barriers to living a better life. That’s it. You know, there is the elephant in the room, the ghost of 1898 and the ghost of the Wilmington Ten. I don't think we've actually reconciled those past deals and I think we really need to.”
A lot of white community members right now are asking, ‘what can we do to help?’ What’s your response to that?
“I hear that a lot of the time, ‘what can we do to help?’ And I think people need to see the black community as being able to help themselves. You know, we don't want to feel hopeless and that our white friends, comrades, need to come in and save us. I think being able to assist us and whatever goals and initiatives that we have, that's how you help.
People need to know that it's a tough time for some people in this city. What can you do to help, what can these organizations do to help -- and, you know, it's by being trendsetters. Do something that puts a person in the position to be a leader or to better provide for their family. To make a transition from one place to another. And I think that's what it is. We have to all be intentional. And if you don't know much about what takes place, then you go and you learn about it.”
Thanks so much for speaking with me Councilman Spears -- take care.
“Thanks, you too.”