Winston in the thick of it. Photo by Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer.
It's been so long - through oh this dark slog of a year - since the arrival of good news we admit it took us all day to register the joy of Tuesday's sliver-of-sunshine results, with all those trans, black, gay, Sikh, Latina and many uppity women defiantly taking back our country. Along with Danica Roem, the trans woman elected to the Virginia General Assembly - among other things, she sings with the band Cab Ride Home, who describe their sound as "drunken thrash metal" - one of our favorite winners is Braxton Winston, a Black Lives Matter activist, football coach, citizen journalist and father of three with a degree in anthropology who handily won an at-large seat on the Charlotte City Council. Winston's narrative arc is classic: He had never been involved in protest until the 2016 Charlotte Uprising following the senseless murder of Keith Scott, a black man, by a cop who was not charged; outraged, Winston filmed and live-streamed the protests from the front lines “so people could...decide the truth as they saw it.”
From there, Winston was galvanized. Hit by tear gas at the first protest, he brought a gas mask to the second and was arrested for "possession of a gas mask with intent to disobey the lawful order of a law enforcement officer in an extraordinary zone" - so defined by worried city officials. He kept filming the protests. Soon after, he filmed the death of a kid during a SWAT stand-off; for the second time in months, he noted, police arrived at a scene where a black guy suddenly ended up dead. He spoke out about police accountability, met with city officials, became a plaintiff in a federal suit that sought to ban police from using excessive force, tried "to show exactly what was happening," praised a community of "people who just want to do the right thing." He has learned that "the willingness to stand up to your government when they smack you in the face (has) a powerful effect on the power structure that tries to control you.” And he has vowed to "speak up on behalf of my children, myself, what I believe in and what the world should look like.” His win, all of 'em, are a pretty good fuck-you-and-your-hate first Trumpiversary gift for us all. God willing, we won't need a second.
Winston gets arrested and...
Winston gets on the ballot
Read more here: for the second time in less than three months, CMPD showed up to serve a warrant on people that were alive and when CMPD left there were black men dead