Restorative Justice in CLT – Join the call to action and join the movement for change

In America, Charlotte, criminal justice, Home, Policy, Politics, Queens University, Racial Justice, Racial Justice - Local Level Advocacy, Racial Justice - State Level Advocacy, Restorative Justice, Social Change, Social Justice by Judy Schindler7 Comments

by Reverend Dr. Willie Keaton

“I can’t breathe.” It is time for Charlotte and the rest of America to listen to the dying words of George Floyd and Eric Garner. Let us be clear about George Floyd’s death: this was a public, blatant lynching for all the world to see. The lynching of George Floyd is another reminder in a long list of reminders that African Americans are under attack and being murdered every single day in America. Just four years after the murder of Keith Lamont Scott and our own uprising in Charlotte, the upward mobility crisis continues to impact Black communities.

Wealth must be decolonized and racism must be dismantled in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. We ask for support and share the following actionable items:

1. We call on the Mayor, City Council, County Commissioners of Mecklenburg County, to present a plan to examine and address the decolonizing of wealth and the dismantling of racism in Charlotte. We seek action specifically in the sectors of land, business, and criminal justice. This includes immediate action regarding ongoing gentrification and displacement, an evaluation of policing in the time since the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, and a commitment to engage with the transformative practice of restorative justice.

2. According to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., rioting is the voice of the unheard. There are uprisings in 30 or more cities with the National Guard deployed in 13 states. We call upon the Mayor and County Commissioners to declare racism towards the African American community a State of Emergency.

3. George Floyd died in Minneapolis, a city perceived as progressive while having entrenched systemic racism – Charlotte could be similarly described. Four years ago we learned that the “well of opportunity” in Charlotte runs dry when we ranked 50th out of 50th in upward mobility. We call upon the architects of the Leading on Opportunities initiative to provide an accounting of monies raised and spent on this initiative. Where are we now after four years and millions raised?

4. Charlotte is the second largest banking center in the US, ranked only after New York City. Money flows here, and yet progress for longtime-residents displaced from Brooklyn and other parts of Uptown remains stagnant. We call on the Charlotte banking and corporate business industries to fund in tangible and new ways the decolonizing of wealth and the dismantling of racism in Charlotte. This includes funding and doing the capacity building necessary for African American run non-profit organizations and Black-owned small businesses. We ask that the banking industry in Charlotte provide a public report outlining its plan and success or lack thereof in one year.

5. We recognize the need for marginalized people to have increased access to public officials to shift the focus and pathways of institutionalized power. We call on the ten largest local nonprofits to utilize 20% of their advocacy budgets to lobby specifically on the issues of decolonizing wealth and dismantling racism in Charlotte, and in one year release public reports outlining outcomes and impact on directly affected groups.

6. Financially support Restorative Justice CLT. Restorative Justice CLT is a vital part of the solution for these problems. For the past fourteen months we have been holding listening sessions and building a broad-based coalition of countywide organizations. The Restorative Justice Fund is based on the six priorities established by the Black community during town hall meetings over the past year. The Fund will be used for restorative measures to accelerate upward mobility and healing for disadvantaged African Americans in Charlotte. Designations will include support of restorative measures in the areas of education, faith communities, business, housing (anti-displacement, land values and ownership), criminal justice, and mental health.

Why is this important?

In Charlotte and Mecklenburg County there has been a historical pattern of institutionalized racism, a system enabled by both neglect and ignorance. In just the past three months, these disparities have been unveiled again by COVID-19. Our history, which is often hidden in favor of presenting a Charlotte of the “New South,” shows that the powers who contributed to the neglect continue to control the funding to correct issues they themselves fomented. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., described the white moderate as someone who “paternalistically believes [they] can set the timetable for another man’s freedom,” and who says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action.” White and non-Black moderates with the power to make a difference indirectly participate in the physical, spiritual, psychological, and economic death of Black communities by refusing to engage with this history. Furthermore, we believe the institutional power in Charlotte has had its knee on the neck of African Americans tracing from slavery, to the destruction of Brooklyn, to the gentrification of Black and brown communities today. We can no longer stand a system designed to appease, pacify, and bend to white supremacy.

Myers Park Baptist Church has supported this initiative with a $20,000 founding gift. Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Benjamin Boswell, remarked: “I am so proud that Myers Park Baptist Church is not content to proclaim ‘Black Lives Matter’ or speak for racial justice, but has decided to actively participate in the decolonizing of wealth and the dismantling of racism by redistributing our resources through Restorative Justice CLT. We invite other people of faith and good conscience, churches, denominations, and foundations to join us in making a financial commitment to eliminate white supremacy and restore justice in the city of Charlotte.”

We reaffirm that Black lives matter everywhere and call for accountability and action in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

To get engaged with this work contact info@greensponcenter.org.

Please sign our petition, we are aiming for 1000 signatures. 

Image by Julian Wan

This Call to Action was inititially signed by:

Restorative Justice CLT & the Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice

Rev. Dr. Willie J. Keaton – Co-Chair, Restorative Justice CLT; Justice Organizer, Stan Greenspon

Center; Engagement Chair, Charlotte NAACP

Rabbi Judith Schindler – Co-Chair, Restorative Justice CLT; Director, The Stan Greenspon Center 

Dr. Robert Anderson – Restorative Justice CLT; Pastor, St. Paul Community Missionary Baptist Church;

Executive Director, JT Williams Community Development

Reverend Ben Boswell, Senior Minister, Myers Park Baptist Church

Reverend John Cleghorn, Restorative Justice CLT; Pastor, Caldwell Presbyterian Church

Lindsey “Trey” Crumlin, Restorative Justice CLT, Youth Coordinator

Apryl Lewis – Restorative Justice CLT; Co-Founder, Tenant- Organizing Resource Center (TORC)

Minister Corine Mack – Restorative Justice CLT; President, NAACP Charlotte-Mecklenburg Branch

Jennifer Moxley, Restorative Justice CLT: Sunshine Media Group, Owner

Deborah Rabinovich – Restorative Justice Project Manager, Stan Greenspon Center

Calvin Simmons –Restorative Justice CLT; Black Men With A Purpose; Advocate, Stan Greenspon Center;

Pastor Reginald Tuggle – Restorative Justice CLT; Pastor, Grier Heights Presbyterian Church

Jason Wolf, Restorative Justice CLT; Founder and Director, The Brooklyn Collective

Reverend Val Rosenquist – Restorative Justice CLT; Pastor, Charlotte First United Methodist Church

 

About Restorative Justice CLT

Restorative Justice CLT is an emerging organization that seeks to firmly set Charlotte on a path to addressing the persistent opportunity and wealth gaps that stem from a long history of discrimination and injustice in the city.  It is housed in Brooklyn in the building which was the heart of Black Wall Street in Charlotte.  Restorative Justice CLT is a culmination of a year of grassroots organizing and listening sessions related to the systematic racism and upward mobility related to the dismantling of Brooklyn. Restorative Justice CLT works to enact transparent, accountable, and sustainable projects and processes to reduce the growth and harm of a history of discriminatory practices and policies in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.  The catalyst for this effort, and the benchmark for measuring its success, is the tragic history of displacement in Charlotte’s Brooklyn neighborhood in Second Ward. Restorative Justice CLT strongly believes in the healing and restoration that must occur (in specific communities with cultural competency in mind) to redress the legacy of the tragic and grave injustices done to Black Charlotteans.

 

SIGNATORIES

Organizations

Myers Park Baptist Church

Black Men With A Purpose

The Brooklyn Collective

Carolina Jews for Justice

Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice

Charlotte First United Methodist Church

NAACP – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Branch

Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice

Gracious Hands Transitional Housing for Homeless Women and Children

QC Family Tree

 

Individuals

Apryl Lewis, Co-Founder, Tenant- Organizing Resource Center (TORC)

Bishop Tonyia Rawls, Founder/Director, The Freedom Center for Social Justice and Pastor, Sacred Souls UCC

Blair Kitrick, Founder, JayTalking

Brent Scott – Stan Greenspon Center Affordable Housing Advocate

Brittenay Causieestko-Lee, Community Engagement Manager

Calvin Simmons, Black Men With A Purpose

Cantor Shira Lissek

Carrie Nelson – Member St. Peter Catholic Church Social Justice Ministry

Cindy J. Kistenberg, Ph.D., Johnson C. Smith University

Coach Cayme, CEO, Catalyst Global

Deanna Williams, Pathways Center

Deborah Rabinovich, Stan Greenspon Center

Donte Washington, Call to Action, Queens University

Dr. Robert Anderson, Pastor, St. Paul Community Missionary Baptist Church

Dr. Sarah Griffith, Queens University of Charlotte

Dr. Susan McCarter, UNC Charlotte

Dr. Tehia Starker Glass, Anti-Racism in Urban Education Graduate Certificate Program Director, UNC Charlotte

Gia N. Paige, Scholar-Practitioner GAPS Consulting NC

Jameka Whitten, JSW Media Group

Janet Ganoung, Founding Member, Carolina Jews for Justice Greater Charlotte

Jason Wolf, Founder and Director, The Brooklyn Collective

JD Mazuera Arias, former Senior Class President 20’, Alumnus of Queens University of Charlotte

Jeff Cohen

Jeff Ganoung, Founding Member, CJJ Greater Charlotte

Jen Johnson, Vice President, Vice President, Enrollment Management and Marketing, Queens University of Charlotte

Jenn Marts, Ed. D. Director, Wells Fargo Center for Community Engagement Queens University of Charlotte

Jennifer Moxley, Sunshine Media Group, Owner

John Cunningham, President, Black Men With A Purpose

Josiah Daniels, Community Engagement Manager, Charlotte Family Housing

Judy Seldin-Cohen

Kirsten Sikkelee, CEO, YWCA Central Carolinas

Lindsey “Trey” Crumlin, Restorative Justice CLT, Youth Coordinator

Michael O’Sullivan

Minister Corine Mack, President, NAACP Charlotte-Mecklenburg Branch

Nadine Ford, Food Advocate, Little Sugar Creek and Druid Hills Community Gardens

Pastor Reginald Tuggle, Pastor, Grier Heights Presbyterian Church

Preston Gibson, NAACP

Rabbi Helene Kornsgold

Rabbi Howard Siegel

Rabbi Judy Schindler, Director, Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice

Ray McKinnon, South Tryon Community UMC

Rev. Amelia Stinson-Wesley, Pastor of Community Engagement, First United Methodist Church Charlotte

Rev. Amy Jacks Dean, Co-Pastor, Park Road Baptist Church

Rev. Ben Boswell, Senior Minister, Myers Park Baptist Church

Rev. Donnie Garris, Antioch Baptist Church,  United Missionary Baptist Association

Rev. Dr. Willie Keaton, Pastor, Mt. Olive Presbyterian Church

Rev. Glencie Rhedrick, Co-Chair, Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice

Rev. Greg Jarrell

Rev. Helms Jarrell

Rev. Jan Edmiston

Rev. Joe Clifford

Rev. John Cleghorn, Pastor, Caldwell Presbyterian Church

Rev. Kendal P. Mobley, Th.D., Associate Professor of Religion, Johnson C. Smith University

Rev. Larry Connor, St. Paul Community Missionary Baptist Church

Rev. Nina Wynn

Rev. Russ Dean, Co-Pastor, Park Road Baptist Church

Rev. Steve Shoemaker, Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Statesville

Rev. Valerie Rosenquist, Ph.D., Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Charlotte

Rev. Veronica Cannon; Pastor First Presbyterian Church Waxhaw

Sam Todd, Steering Committee, Carolina Jews for Justice, Greater Charlotte

Sophia Ono-Korkowski, Class of 2020, Queens University of Charlotte

Tara Agnew Harris, member, Myers Park Baptist Church

Tim Nicodemus, The Charlotte Justice Conference

Victoria Ardines, Class of 2021, Queens University of Charlotte

Comments

  1. I am anxious to be involved in creating change in the system white privilege created and now white privilege must correct.

  2. Willie,

    Great job with your Call to Action. Hopefully, now will be the time to see the Charlotte business leaders and community get behind the call and make the changes to make Charlotte a city we can all be proud to live in.

    My best,

    Robert

  3. We need to focus on Black Owned business. Stop letting the Whites, Chinese, Koreans, Arabs and Indians come to our communities and sell us grocery , food ,gas, liquor, cigarettes, and hair products. Start buying from Black Owned business. They come take our money don’t hire us and go back to their own community Rich. They laugh and call it taking candy from a baby!!

    1. Author

      Cliff, would you like to join our work towards restorative justice?

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