My words to City Council…

Shared at a Public Forum on July 27, 2020.

Thank you for removing the Judah Benjamin memorial from Tryon Street. I and the Jewish community deeply appreciate your work.

I speak tonight on the Charlotte Black Upward Mobility & Restorative Justice Resolution that we hope you, on City Council, will unanimously pass. 

In the midst of the COVID pandemic, we have become painfully aware of the pandemic of racism that is killing Black Charlotteans. Slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, the demolition of the Brooklyn neighborhood have left our Black siblings far more vulnerable to the health and economic storms that come our way.

Be the leaders who make things right not only in word but in practice, policy, and economic investment in the Black community in order to accelerate upward mobility.

In Judaism, righting wrongs is a three step process. First, we apologize. Second, we make restitution to repair the harm caused. Third, we don’t do it again.

We call for that same three step process, not just by you but by the faith, business, philanthropic communities, by other civic leaders, and by those who benefited from Charlotte’s historic practices of racism.

We seek an apology – from you as representatives of our city.

We seek restitution – a restorative justice fund that will invest in Black Upward mobility in six areas where harm was caused (in education, housing, business, mental health, faith communities, and in the justice system). Funds to support this can in part be raised from budgeting and from creating tax districts. It can also be raised through the philanthropic, business, and faith communities.

We seek systemic change – a process of ensuring community benefits agreements from developers, ensuring opportunities for the community as they create opportunities for themselves.

How will it happen? With investment – civic, business, philanthropic, organizational, religious, individual.

Who will lead the way in making it happen? Each one of you in embracing the Charlotte Black Upward Mobility & Restorative Justice Resolution in partnership with the hundreds and soon to be thousands who have joined us on this journey. Thank you.

To learn more about this resolution, click here.

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