On behalf of the Board and Staff of Rebuilding Together of Greater Charlotte (RTGC), I am frustrated and disheartened by the continued prevalence of racist and oppressive structures within our society, which was once again magnified by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
We are a non-profit that focuses on repairing and preserving affordable housing, and so we are constantly aware of how historic injustices around race-based housing discrimination have led to the conditions we see today. Our Board members and volunteers cherish the times we talk to the amazing homeowners we assist, but because we often work in majority Black neighborhoods, stories of segregation, prejudice, and over-policing are common refrains. Our homeowners are often born and raised Charlotteans, and they have educated us greatly on not just how we got to our current climate, but also what impact the trauma being experienced by the Black community, regardless of income or position, has had on them. As a person deemed ‘white’ by society, I will never fully understand the pain, but I affirm that their place is our society is to be honored, not dismissed. Truly indeed, Black Lives Matter.
It is once again clear that simply being proximate to Black friends, co-workers, politicians, or neighbors is not enough to overturn years of hatred or the effects of racist policies. Just saying ‘we are listening’ does not reduce the current harm facing our community. As such, RTGC will continue to work on improving all facets of our organization to ensure we are a part of the solution.
While we have a diverse Board, it is easy to still have a “white savior” mentality. Because of that, we are committed to improving our relationship with neighborhood-driven efforts so that their voices are the focus, and our work is not toxic to the lives of their residents. We affirm that the residents have voices that need to be heard, so we commit to improving our efforts to increase Board and Committee involvement with neighborhood residents. We will also improve our outreach to minority-owned contractors, especially those based in the areas we are operating in, so that their skill set can be compensated while assisting the neighborhood they love.
If you would like to learn more about what RTGC is doing for the community, if you would like to offer feedback on how we can better love our neighbors well, or if you would like to learn more about the affordable housing crisis facing our city, please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or to the organization.
Together, we as a Charlotte community can make a better reality possible for all residents. It will take work. It will be messy. But it will be unbelievably beautiful. Looking to the people who have gone before us, and in humble service to those currently taking incredible actions for equity and equality, we are inspired to get to work.
In Service to Charlotte,
Board Chair, Rebuilding Together of Greater Charlotte