CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Glencie Rhedrick is the co-chair of the Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice. She said before she became a minister she worked in hotels and the airlines.
"They questioned my intellect; questioned my ability to write and questioned my ability to articulate, which I think, as you know, I can do pretty well", Rhedrick says.
Public speaking is a skill Rhedrick has honed. She led a whole group of clergy Friday morning during an event honoring George Floyd. But, she said her bosses back then didn’t see her potential and she felt like it was because she was black.
"They’d say, 'you’re just not ready yet,'" Rhedrick says. "If you wait a couple of years, then you can get that position because you don’t have the ability to lead."
It's why Rhedrick and others are upset with some of the companies releasing statements about the George Floyd protests. Corine Mack, the president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg branch of the NAACP, says companies need to do more than release a statement.
“Words are empty without action,” Macks says. “We need equal pay for black people. I should see many black people in supervisory or management positions”
A Harvard University study found black Americans had a much lower rate of upward mobility compared to white Americans and a higher rate of downward mobility.
The CEO of the makeup company, Uoma, said on Instagram companies should release how many black people they have in upper management roles.
“You cannot say black lives matter publicly, when you don’t show us black lives matter within your own homes and within your organizations,” Uoma CEO, Sharon Cruter says.
It’s not just about upward mobility. Rhedrick said companies should also have diversity training.
“You have the ability to realize some of the pain and suffering and horror that we experience everyday,” Rhedrick says.