Since July, Safe Coalition NC has embarked on a journey of community engagement involving hundreds of members of the black Charlotte community. About 200 people have participated in planning meetings and a mini-summit, and about 200 additional people have completed written surveys about community challenges. All of these activities have been aimed at helping the Charlotte black community address one important question. What are the sources of harm affecting Charlotte’s black community, and what might the community itself do to address them? Put differently, what has to happen so that black areas in Charlotte can become Harm Free Zones?
The vision of the project is that black folks in Charlotte can become empowered to improve their community by holding themselves, their community, and local institutions accountable for the internally and externally caused harms that wreak havoc and impede personal and collective success. The Harm Free Zone model was created in other cities, and is being adapted in Charlotte by local community organizers and facilitator Dr. David Campt, a nationally renown expert in civic engagement who has worked for The White House, prestigious universities, and large foundations.
After its successful initial start, the project is in danger of coming to a halt due to lack of funding. The organizers and hundreds of participants are hoping for some support from others in Charlotte and elsewhere who believe in community uplift and the tremendous potential for black communities. We are seeking the support of people who share our faith in the idea that programs should be built around distilling the community wisdom that can be used as the basis of problem solving. We believe by engaging the black community around its own problems and creating evidence-based programming, black neighborhoods can create sustainable mechanisms that foster personal, community, and institutional transformation. Our aim is to not only improve Charlotte, but to continue developing a scalable model for community engagement and uplift that is very relevant to communities all around the country.
Thank you for contributing to this vital project and for spreading the word to others who also believe in black community uplift.