Writing this on Juneteenth, I would like to expand a little on why we are active in the Black Lives Matter movement. At first glance, of course, I’m a privileged white woman who had only the fear of “getting in trouble” or fined by police during traffic stops, never fearing for my life. But as the mother of two boys of color, one of which is Black, I have a heart-stopping fear of him becoming a teenager and facing the reality that Black boys do every day. Even one of my best friends, “D,” told a story of how her mother always told her to “close those blinds before you get shot!” D thought it was just a funny saying until she realized as an adult that it was a racially charged statement dealing with her mother being segregated in South Carolina. But I don’t just experience it in my personal life – the sad reality of the disparity and social mobility problems hit us regularly at work too in our role as “professional listeners” gathering community feedback.
We’ve heard the pain of Brooklyn residents forced out of their homes during urban “renewal” by Charlotte’s county commission in the 1960s. We heard the urgent need to figure out mobility – both social and transportation. We’ve heard from residents about the frustration of the massive wealth gap and the need for more affordable housing because decent housing they can afford has 12+ month waiting lists. We’ve heard they don’t want the city they love to forget and leave them behind, erasing their past in favor of shiny new buildings. We’ve heard the fear from mothers’ mouths about the safety of their sons and daughters. I share their fear. We hate what we hear but that’s our neighbors’ daily reality and it’s our role to ensure that those who are shaping this city’s growth hear it too. A friend put it well:
Racism cannot stand. Not in my town. Not in my work. Not in my speech. Not in my family. Not in my heart. Black Lives Matter to me, now and every day. I’m here for it, always learning and listening. All are welcome here, and most especially those who must shout to be heard. I’m listening.
So, for Duck Love Week, we want to shine a light on organizations that support Black and African-American populations. We hope you take time to support these non-profits that are working towards racial equality, and the success of the Black community.
The Young Black Leadership Alliance [YBLA] is an organization that educates and develops Black leaders to have a positive impact in their community and beyond. They strive to create a workplace that reflects the communities they serve and where everyone feels empowered to bring their full, authentic selves to work. You are able to to donate once, monthly, quarterly and even annually. Click here to donate: https://bit.ly/318pRgj
The Harvey B. Gantt Center is a center for African-American Arts + Culture in Charlotte and YDM was a sponsor in 2018. The center is named after Charlotte’s first Black mayor and first Black student at Clemson University. Visit the center and explore their exhibitions and unique cultural experiences. The Harvey Gantt Center is also available for events and weddings. Currently, they are offering a plethora of virtual experiences, including panel discussions about social justice issues. Membership details: Individual $50, Family [2 adults and children under 18] $100, Student/Educator $35, etc. Member privileges include unlimited free admission, private exhibition previews and more. Or donate here.
Education and employment are key levers for transcending poverty, but, while Charlotte’s most affluent high schools boast nearly 100% graduation rates, several of Charlotte’s lowest-income schools graduate less than 60% of their students. Employment opportunities diminish for students who aren’t able to graduate from high school. And, thus, the cycle of poverty often continues.
The McCollums are big supporters of the mission of UrbanPromise Charlotte – to provide Charlotte’s children and youth with the spiritual, academic and social development necessary to become Christian leaders determined to restore their communities. UrbanPromise offers afterschool programs and employs Street Leaders. In addition to employment, StreetLeaders receive extensive job training, tutoring, college preparation, professional counseling and mentoring to help them succeed in and outside of the program. Over the last five years, 100% of the 68 senior StreetLeaders have graduated on time and received college acceptance. Almost all are first-generation college students.
Members of 100 Black Men are dedicated to success of today’s youth. Their members are not only mentors and volunteers, they’re businessmen, doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, etc. They strive to enrich the lives of Black youth through mentoring, education, economic development, health & wellness and leadership. Here’s how to donate: https://bit.ly/2B6qTie
Liberty Hill Improvement Council aims to increase literacy rate of students in the Liberty Hill community. The council has successfully set up an afterschool literacy program with Hursey Elementary School. Their afterschool program reinforces the information that students will receive during regular school hours. They believe this approach will help students, parents and teachers. Donate here.
Founded in 1989, The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States. They also aim to challenge racial and economic injustice and to protect basic human rights. Their work includes: Criminal Justice Reform, Racial Justice, Public Education, Museum/Memorials and more. Donate here.
Thurgood Marshall College Fund is the nation’s largest organization that represents the Black College Community. Through scholarships, capacity building, research initiatives, innovative programs and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a resource in the K-12 and higher education space. To date, the fund has awarded more than $300 million in assistance to students. Their mission statement is to ensure student success by promoting educational excellence and preparing the next generation of talent through leadership development. Donate here.
Profound Gentlemen, founded by Jason Terrell and Mario Jovan Shaw, addresses the challenges faced by male educators of color in terms of low retention rates and barriers to career advancement. Started as a platform for conversations on educational equity, it has evolved into a research-based model offering coaching, peer-networks, and development opportunities since 2014. Donate here.
We hope you take the time to learn about these organizations through this resource and how they are supporting their communities. If there is an organization or non-profit you would like us to add to this list, feel free to let us know.