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Can We Talk About Living Together in a Divided Community?
My Reality / Your Perception / Your Reality / My Perception 
 
Thursday, June 30, 2011
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church
1117 South Boulevard
 
Setting the Stage

Jennifer Roberts, County Commission Chair
Anthony Foxx, Mayor, City of Charlotte
 
A key component to having a successful community is the ability of residents to feel that they can trust the people they come into contact with everyday, especially those who may be perceived as being different – racially, ethnically, economically, geographically, politically, or generationally. Lack of community trust may be caused by historical issues (what is in our ground), perceptions of previous mistreatment and injustice, collective failure to hold one another accountable, or a perception that no one will help or listen when you believe you are being treated unfairly. Lack of trust can lead to a community that is perceived as being divided and fractured.
 
How we as a community address trust depends on how we build relationships through conversation – dialogue, discussion or debate – when we are forced to make tough choices or confront troubling community events. These choices may impact our children or our neighbors’ children (CMS and schools) – or they may involve decisions about the allocation of resources (City and County budgets) or who carries the bulk of the burden (taxes/revaluation) when it comes to generating revenue needed to pay for public services - or who is at fault when violence erupts at public events.
 
In these times, who do you trust and why? Do we look at others to carry the ball or do we make conscious decisions to be engaged in the dialogue, and the decisions that are under consideration or are being made. Can we address tough issues without vilifying or attacking one another?
 
Additional concerns and questions to be addressed include: 
  • Do you think we live in a divided community? What do you point to as evidence?  What divisions do you see?  Where are the dividing lines? 
  • If yes, why and how does that affect your ability to advocate or work for change?  How does it impact the ability of elected officials to lead?
  • Who do you trust? Why? What would make a difference?
  • When times are difficult – or when tough decisions are made – how can we work in a way that unites rather than divides us?
During the past three years, the Community Building Initiative (CBI), the Community Relations Committee (CRC) and Mecklenburg Ministries (MM) have hosted Can We Talk? conversations that have attracted over 1500 persons to wrestle with significant issues that confront us as a community. The conversations we have facilitated on June 30 of the past two years have been especially memorable and well attended.
 
On June 30, 2009, we met at Little Rock AME Zion Church to confront meeting basic human needs during an economic crisis, and on June 30, 2010 we met at Covenant Presbyterian Church to address the thorny issue of affordable housing. This year – on Thursday, June 30 at Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church – we invite you to another critical and timely conversation – namely, how do we live together – and even trust one another – in what many acknowledge to be a divided community?
 
To RSVP for this event, please contact Renee Thompson at 704.336.2424 or rthompson@ci.charlotte.nc.us