Ending the year, not the fight: Holding each other accountable into 2021

Last week was a monumental week for social justice in North Carolina with the release of statewide recommendations to combat racism and an important discussion among Charlotte leaders about work the city must do to become a more just community.

On Tuesday, the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice released a long-awaited report detailing antiracist best practices, particularly within the state’s criminal justice system, by which law enforcement and other municipal leaders should abide. 

State leaders see the report as an important first step to curtailing the implicit bias that disproportionately affects people of color in the criminal justice system. For instance, Black adults are six times as likely as white adults to be incarcerated, twice as likely to be pulled over for a traffic stop and more likely to be jailed before trial.  

You can read more on the task force’s specific recommendations here.  

Also this week, the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance hosted a roundtable of local business leaders to discuss Charlotte’s work to improve economic mobility by promoting equity throughout the workplace and tangibly working to ensure people of color are better represented in leadership positions citywide.  

During the discussion, panelists stressed the importance of corporations sustaining momentum in their commitments to improve diversity and racial equity. Red Ventures CEO Ric Elias spoke about his company’s promise to examine its current hiring practices and increase the percentage of hires who are people of color. Acknowledging that such changes can’t happen overnight, Elias said Red Ventures should be held accountable and judged on its progress over the next 10 years.   

You can read more about the roundtable here.  

The congruence of these two important events align closely with where we find LGA’s Racial Justice & Equity Task Force at the end of 2020. We feel comforted and inspired by both the release of the state task force’s recommendations and the transparency and commitment of Charlotte leaders to ensure this important work continues, and that we as a state, city and community continue to hold one another accountable.  

When LGA began operating under our #OneTeam framework in May 2019, we established three pillars to guide our transformation: accountability, collaboration and curiosity. It’s safe to say as we end this pivotal year that our commitment to accountability has never been more needed within our agency, industry and community at large.  

So far this year, in addition to creating this task force and developing this blog, our team has: 

  • Reevaluated our own hiring practices and created an antiracist hiring manual that we will finalize in the coming months 
  • Updated our current internship program to better reach BIPOC students 
  • Conducted a mandatory all-day staff training session with the Racial Equity Institute  
  • Held many all-agency meetings – no matter how uncomfortable – to discuss how our agency and industry may perpetuate systemic racism 

Still, we acknowledge we have so much more to do, and we look forward to using the past six months of research and conversation to propel us into a year of tangible change in 2021 and beyond.  

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