Restorative Justice – Righting Charlotte’s Historic Wrongs

A Long History of Racist Policies and Practices in Charlotte

Charlotte is growing fast but also faces an upward mobility crisis rooted in a long history of discrimination and injustice, tracing from slavery, to Jim Crow, to urban renewal, to gentrification.

Charlotte had a vibrant Black Wall Street developing the Brooklyn neighborhood of Second Ward prior to policies of urban renewal. Between 1960 and 1967, Brooklyn Village was razed in five stages, during which the community had no say in plans for their neighborhood. The destruction and trauma included:

  • 1,007 families, totally nearly 10,000 residents, were displaced to the periphery of the city.
  • Not a single new residential unit was built to replace the 1,480 demolished homes.
  • 216 Black businesses were closed, many never reopening.
  • Eleven Black churches, the Good Samaritan Hospital, the Lincoln and Savoy theaters, and the Brevard Street Library were just a few of the historic institutions that sustained the Black community in Charlotte that closed as a result of Brooklyn's demise.

The Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice built a coalition comprised of eighteen organizations committed to restorative justice. Through listening sessions and community research, the restorative justice advocacy team identified six key issues in response to a specific harm done towards the Brooklyn community. The wrongdoings committed towards the Brooklyn community were within education, faith communities, business, home and land values and ownership, criminal justice, and mental health. These community identified issues will drive all projects and priorities of Restorative Justice CLT, a new organization launched to support this effort.

Our Advocacy Goals

The Greenspon Center restorative justice advocacy team supports the coalition of organizations working with Restorative Justice CLT in seeking to enact transparent, accountable, and sustainable projects to redress the history of discriminatory practices and policies in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Together, we strongly believe in the healing and restoration that must occur to redress the legacy on injustice done to Black Charlotteans.

Restorative justice is a three-part process:

  • Apology- truth telling and public acknowledgement of wrongdoing.
  • Restorative justice- establish and oversee a restitution/restorative justice fund.
  • Advocate for systemic change so that African American communities ceased to be harmed by public policies and practices.
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Getting engaged with our work

The Greenspon restorative justice team partners with Restorative Justice CLT in holding monthly Teach-Ins on topics surrounding restorative justice and wrongdoings committed towards Charlotte's Black community. Below are the links to our past Teach-In events:

1. June 15, 2020 teach-in

2. June 30, 2020 teach in

Facebook - Teach-In Tuesday: Restorative Justice

3. July 21, 2020 teach- in

Facebook - Restorative Justice CLT Teach-In: Righting Historic Wrongs

To learn more about the history of Brooklyn and Restorative Justice CLT or to become involved visit www.restorativejusticeclt.org

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Unsplash by Wes Hicks