In March, Charlotte had the opportunity to prove we are the Big City we claim to be opposed to the Big Town we often appear to be. It is so easy to show up in front of the African- American, Women and LGBT community to smile and take pictures and receive donations and support, but when it is time to show your true support through votes some fall short. The business community in large part has learned this lesson, so as a community we all have to take a stand, stop spending our dollars where they are not wanted, and, as a collective, show the power of our votes.

I have been saying for many years that people that only show up when it’s time for votes are not acceptable nor have they proven that they are worthy of support. It took a hard lesson at our Council meeting on March 2 to learn that everyone that claims support is really a supporter of full equality.

I am saddened by the results of adding protections for all of our citizens, but unfortunately not surprised. The only bright star is knowing that as a community we have a chance to build stronger relationships with those that are different from us. We must create opportunities for new and transparent dialogue. We must learn how to disagree respectfully. We must vote in candidates that get the importance of equality. What do I consider equality? Access to jobs to those formerly incarcerated, housing our poor, protecting and supporting our veterans, safe communities, the freedom to live our lives and stopping the bullying of LGBT citizens. #blacklivesmatter #LGBTQlivesmatter #latinolivesmatter #ALLLIVESMATTER. : :

— LaWana Mayfield represents District 3 on Charlotte City Council. She was first elected in 2011 and is the first openly LGBT elected official in Charlotte.