Reverend Dr. Willie Keaton, Jr. was honored with the NAACP Charlotte-Mecklenburg Branch’s Community Champion Award at their Freedom Fund Award Banquet on Saturday, December 7, 2019. The theme of this year was “Taking Care of Our Earth; Taking Care of Each Other” reflecting this year’s notable work by environmental partners and local leaders towards environmental equity, justice and economic mobility in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Dr. Keaton’s work with the Greenspon Center surrounding restorative justice as it relates to the destruction of the Brooklyn neighborhood was highlighted.
In accepting the award, Dr. Keaton remarked, “We took the challenge of resurrecting some old hurts by engaging in the conversation on Brooklyn. One of the questions we asked was, ‘If you’re going to build a $700 million dollar development on this land, then you have to, some way, speak to the historical injustices that took place in Brooklyn and in Second Ward.'”
Dr. Keaton has led the way in bringing together a coalition of sixteen organizations in advocating for restorative justice. Keaton notes that research is showing that the economics in Charlotte for the black community took a turn for the worse when the community of Brooklyn was displaced. “The segregation that occurred through urban renewal can be connected to the problem of upward mobility today. It is the black economy that is holding those numbers down.”
You can celebrate Dr. Keaton’s success by building upon it and joining with our work. Save the date for our Greenspon Agenda 2020 meeting on Monday, January 13, 2020 at Queens University when we will set the course for restorative justice in 2020.
“We want more than a mural. We want more than a street named after somebody. We need economic justice. The African American community needs a stimulus to its economy.” – Rev. Dr. Willie Keaton