Recently at the Forum


As of 7-27-2021
Joel Ford sent in a link to UNC System President Peter Hans’ July 22 report to the UNC Board of Governors on which Ford serves. The report included Hans’ veiled but clear reference to the controversy sparked by the tenure fight over journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. “My job,” Hans said, “is to make sure this institution is performing its core mission and maintaining broad support. So I’ll be truly worried on the day that a major controversy is met with a public shrug instead of a public outcry.” He characterized the public attention as “a real sign of investment in this place.”
City of Charlotte’s Civic Leadership Academy is taking applications through Aug. 1 for its fall class. Virtual sessions are 6 p.m. for 2-3 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Application here.
Upcoming Events
July 29: Charlotte Area Fund’s “The Big Pop Up,” Covid testing and vaccinations, plus free distribution of household goods, personal items, food supplies, etc. to the first 2,000 vehicles that drive through the stations in the parking lot,10 a.m.-2 p.m., Park Expo, East Independence Blvd. Fliers in English and Spanish.
July 30: Fish Fry fundraiser, 11 a.m. until sold out, 5108 Reagan Dr. Ste 5. Flier & prices here.
July 31: Greater Charlotte Alliance of Black School Educators community conversation on “how we will support our schools in a post-pandemic world, 9 a.m., free via Zoom. Register here.
Aug. 3: National Night Out.
Aug. 3: “Learning the Native Language and Customs (Soft Skills)”, 3-4:30 p.m., free, for youth 16-24, a CM library “virtual career cruise.” Register here. Flier here.
Aug. 7: Hope2Heal Fundraising concert to introduce No Sad Story HIV prevention ministry and Cry Out to Get Out domestic violence ministry, 5-8 p.m., Old Town Amphitheater, 144 E. Black St., Rock Hill; tickets free to $30; vendors and musicians. Flier here.
Aug. 12-14: Inaugural Afrofuturism Fest (“The world of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture”), with events at Camp Northend, Historic Westend, CPCC. Tickets $0-$25 here. Info for sponsors, volunteers and vendors here.
Aug. 19: MeckMIN Food For Thought: “NC Social Studies Standards & Religious Diversity,” noon, on Zoom. Register here.
Sept. 8: Democratic Women of Mecklenburg Annual “Paint the Town Blue” fundraiser.
Sept. 9: MeckMIN Food For Thought: “Where God is Resurrecting Sacred Community In The Least Likely Places,” 11:30 a.m., Covenant Prebyterian, 1000 E. Morehead St. Register here.
Sept. 24: “Advancing Equitable Mental Health Outcomes for Racially/Ethnically Diverse Populations, a virtual mental health summit, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., tickets $40/$25. Register here. Information here.
News & Handouts
Alma Adams 7-20 7-21 7-22 7-26 7-27 7-27
Natasha Marcus 7-26
Goodwill Industries 7-21 7-22 7-26 7-27
Knight Foundation 7-21
NC Dept. of Health & Human Serrvices 7-23
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Announcements Archive

Education & Health


Janice Shirley led a group of advocates who are passionate about getting support to people living with AIDS.


UNC System President Peter Hans reported to his board July 22, and in the report he reflected on the tenure debate surrounding journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.


In 2 minutes, Arthur Griffin outlines a way forward on three contentious issues facing the CMS Board of Education.


Mediation has ended the latest dispute between Mecklenburg commissioners and CMS over student outcomes and CMS policies.


Vivian Stuart, left, and Reggie Singleton discuss the Rosa Parks Farmers Market and The Males Place.


Retired CMS Supt. Jim Pughsley joins Diorio in critique of CMS leadership.


Arthur Griffin Jr., left, shared data showing the crisis in education of Black children, and argued that school leaders are evading responsibility for the system’s failures to meet legal requirements.


Pandemic’s toll on high school learning proficiency exposed in fall 2020 test scores.


CMS Board Chairperson Elyse Dashew, left, and Supt. Earnest Winston gave an update on calendars, success in giving every student Internet access, a summer “camp” to help children make up for lost time, and how long it may take to get student proficiency back on track.


N.C. leader of COVID-19 pandemic response encourages all to get vaccinated.


President Trump announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus.


COVID-19 updates were from the NC Dept. of Health & Human Services and the Mecklenburg County Manager.


County Manager Dena Diorio’s COVID-19 update.


Monika Rhue makes a plea that people let others in the community know all the good that people are doing during this coronavirus pandemic.


Links to coronavirus resources from area governments and agencies.


A large medical practice shared this information about the caronavirus pandemic with its Meckenburg patients today.


Dr. Tuwanda Williamson, left, will help open the first Oak Street Health clinic catering to adults on Medicare.


A large crowd, including longtime educator Ceretha Sherrill, left, contributed to a discussion of issues still to be dealt with after the resignation of CMS Supt. Clayton Wilcox.


CMS Board Vice Chair Elyse Dashew read a lawyer vetted statement about the suspension of CMS Supt. Clayton Wilcox.


Greg Schermberg sent in a video about his company’s efforts to support family nights at two nearby schools.

View the Archives for
Education & Health

Community Matters


Thelma McKoy taught history to students in schools, and to her Charlotte community through early devotion to Juneteenth celebrations.


Robert Dawkins, left, described how knocking on doors boosted Census accuracy, and how Action NC uses the same tools to influence decisions by government.


Keith Rivers, left, addressed the Forum about protests following the April 21 death of Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City.


CMPD Chief Johnny Jenning’s statement following the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in the death of George Floyd.


Marcus Bass, left, from NC Black Alliance and Stephanie Sneed from the Black Political Caucus review efforts to activate black voters and create multi-ethnic political action.


City Council member Malcolm Graham, left and Corridors of Opportunity Project Manager Cherie Smith give an update on Beatties Ford Road corridor projects.


In the run-up to a contentious election, the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry called on Americans to hold on to hope.


Commentary on the protests following the death in police custody of George Floyd in Minneapolis.


Richard McElrath, veteran teacher, CMS board member and Forum participant, has died.


April Benson, left, and Patricia Campbell described the upcoming Charlotte Black Film Festival; Paula Riddick collected surveys about hiring a new police chief.


Emiene Wright, left, and Katrina Louis discussed Westside Connect, a startup media project aimed at westside neighborhoods.


Winston Robinson, left, and Tera Long led discussion about westside equity and ambulance charges.


Funeral for Dwayne Collins, who died Sunday after a battle with multiple myeloma, will be Friday, Aug. 30, with viewing at 11 a.m. and service at noon, at Greenville Memorial AME Zion Church, 6116 Monteith Dr.


Brandon Lunsford shared Johnson C. Smith University’s interest in becoming an archive for West End Charlotte historical documents.


Dr. Debra C. Smith recounts the development of a publishing project telling the stories of women who served Charlotte during the civil rights era.


DeAlva Wilson, left, presented at a session on redevelopment plans for the demolished Eastland Mall site.


Jessica Davis, left, and James Mitchell helped guide a Forum discussion of the future of the Historic Excelsior Club on Beatties Ford Road.


The decision to forgive the man who took his brother’s life set John C Barnett on a course of advocacy.


Malcolm Graham, left, led a panel discussing ways to move public opinion toward giving all people more protection from gun violence.


Derek Webber recounted his efforts to keep his company’s Battle of the Bands in Charlotte, only to leave for Houston.

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Community Matters

Government & Politics


Chief Public Defender Kevin Tully outlined the work of 60 lawyers and support staff defending Mecklenburg citizens in court.


County Manager Dena Diorio gave an update on COVID, the county’s new budget, the struggle to properly shelter and support people evicted from a tent encampment, and the recasting of all county programs to support equity and justice.


Dr. Rebecca Tippett, left, presented material on the 2020 Census, and what information will be released in August.


District Attorney Spencer Merriweather outlines the challenges faced by the local judicial system during Covid.


Sheriff Garry McFadden, left, on Covid crisis, Elizabeth City, and how Mecklenburg citizens can support residents returning from custody.


U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, left, discussed the American Rescue Plan, American Jobs Plan and the Ignite HBCU Excellence Act.


CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings, left, and Jonathan Chow discussed policing and safety in Charlotte.


Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, left, and County Board Chair George Dunlap addressed homeless, Covid-19 issues and answered questions.


James Mitchell says he will resign from Charlotte City Council due to his upcoming part ownership of Leeper Construction.


CATS has provided maps for proposed alternate routes for construction of the Silver Line light rail line from Gaston County to Matthews with a possible extension into Union County.


Taiwo Jaiyeoba described his efforts to reorient multiple streams of planning documents into a single comprehensive plan to guide the future of Charlotte’s growth.


George Grandy, left, and Robert Dawkins focused on how the formal U.S. Census process and grassroots efforts are linking up to encourage participation.


Veteran Democratic strategist Sam Spencer explained his opposition to the ballot referendum on increasing the Mecklenburg sales tax to fund arts, parks and education.


Commissioners Chair George Dunlap makes his case for voter support of a ballot proposal to raise the sales tax.


Zhivi Williams, left, and Dr. Yolanda Holmes reported on efforts to overcome lack of diversity and resources on the Women’s Advisory Board to fulfill a role of advising Mecklenburg County Commissioners.


Vilma Leake was invited to address the Forum.


County Manager reviewed major planks of her proposed budget on which Commissioners will begin taking straw votes next week.


During his Feb. 19 Forum presentation, Sheriff McFadden made a specific suggestion of how congregations could help support people leaving detention.


George Dunlap, left and Garry McFadden discuss Mecklenburg issues.


Jean Leier and Warren Cooksey offered an update on the I-77 express lanes and other toll roads in North Carolina.

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Government & Politics

Housing & Workplace


Ralphine Caldwell reviews the initial months in the Charlotte work of Local Initiatives Support Corp.


Najah Roberts, chief visionary officer for Crypto Blockchain Plug, believes cryptocurrency will affect everyone, whether or not they invest in Bitcoin or other digital products.


Serita Russell, left, was lead plaintiff in the successful lawsuit over landlord malfeasance at Lake Arbor Apartments.


Susan Woods offered tips on how to create a federally recognized nonprofit, and then how to seek funding.


Marvin Kelly described Goodwill Industries’ training and other missions and answered questions.


Constance Lav Johnson completed part of a presentation on grantwriting and fundraising.


Michael Norman is using his electrical contractor business to give young people a chance for a steady job.


Karen Kovach, left, and Juanita Miller explained Changed Choices’ work with women returning from jail or prison.


Dr. Tonnia Thomas has a nonprofit ready to train people to work in hazardous waste and environmental cleanup projects.


David Sharp, left, joined Patrick Cannon in a discussion of how Sharp’s firms are funneling capital to entrepreneurs who are building businesses.


Three women shared their approaches to success in nonprofit and for-profit businesses in Charlotte.


LaWana Mayfield and Pam Wideman describe some of the tools available to the city to ensure that more Charlotte residents are in safe housing they can pay for.


City program with area partners is retraining adults with barriers to employment.


“Chatty Hattie” Leeper, trailblazing black woman in Charlotte radio, remembers days at WGIV radio.


Dr. Madeline McClenney-Sadler explains Exodus Foundation’s mentoring work with former inmates.


Sherrell Dorsey closed out Women’s History Month, sharing her story of combining her many different interests and skills to blaze a trail for African-Americans in technology.


Rachelle Latimer describes highway contracting work as a difficult business that can be daunting for newcomers.


Patrick Graham, new CEO of Charlotte Works, and his team outlined work of the local workforce development board.


Leaders from Goodwill and Urban Ministry Center explain their work to help people move toward job success, better health, secure housing.


Fulton Meachem and Ken Szymanski, representing two powerful housing interests, discuss affordable housing opportunities in Charlotte.

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Housing & Workplace

Candidates & Ballots


A compilation of notes from Election 2020 candidates.


Results from the Nov. 3, 2020 general elections for offices in which Mecklenburg votes.


Forum participants reflect on why they vote, for this series leading up to Election 2020.


Preliminary results from the March 3, 2020 party primaries for offices in which Mecklenburg votes.


Democrat Cynthia Wallace addressed the Forum on her primary contest for the 9th District Congress seat.


Judge Aretha Blake’s statements on a Feb. 6 media report about cases in her courtroom.


Cal Cunningham, left, and Trevor Fuller offered comments on the five-way Democratic primary contest March 3 for the U.S. Senate seat held by Thom Tillis.


George Dunlap, left, and three other candidates in the March 3 primary discussed county and court issues.


Rev. Brenda Stevenson (pictured), N.C. Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed and N.C. Rep. Becky Carney discussed mostly legislative challenges facing the state.


Seven of the eight Democrats in the March 3 primary for 3 county commissioner slots on the November ballot spoke.


Laura Anthony, left, and Jonathan Peebles are running for legislative seats in the March primary.


A challenge to Darrell Bonapart’s candidacy in the N.C. Senate 39 Democratic primary was upheld by the Mecklenburg Board of Elections


Election-night preliminary results from the Nov. 5 election.


Vi Lyles explained her candidacy for re-election as Charlotte mayor, and spoke of a number of things she’s learned in her first term.


Republican Joshua Richardson, left, and incumbent Democrats Dimple Ajmera, Julie Eiselt, James Mitchell and Braxton Winston addressed the Forum.


Brandon Pierce, left, and other candidates for City Council Districts 2, 4 and 6 presented.


Annette Albright, left and Elyse Dashew presented at the second Forum on CMS Board of Education candidates.


Who will guide the education of these children? First of two sessions with CMS school board candidates. (CMS photo)


Results from Tuesday’s Primary Election in Charlotte.


Five candidates for at-large seats on Charlotte City Council addressed the Forum.

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Candidates & Ballots

Inside the Forum


For 40-plus years, the Forum met face-to-face. Then came COVID-19. An update on the path forward.


Isaac Applewhite, a longtime county parks executive and Forum participant, has died.


Hugs were allowed today as Natheley McElrath and Elloree Erwin visited Sarah Stevenson.


Sarah Stevenson update: Visitations are now severely limited by virus outbreak, Elloree Erwin reports.


In-facility visits are being scheduled with Sarah Stevenson, sister Elloree Erwin says.


Updates from Elloree Erwin on Sarah Stevenson and the family’s plans for legacy projects.


Well-wishers took a 95th birthday celebration to Sarah Stevenson via a drive-thru in University City.


Elloree Erwin offers driving instructions for the Oct. 26 birthday drive-by for Sarah Stevenson.


A drive-by will be held Oct. 26 to wish Sarah Stevenson a Happy 95th birthday.


Artist Tommie Robinson’s 50-year career profiled in the Charlotte Observer.


Dr. Gyasi Foluke, an outspoken advocate for African-Americans and longtime student of African history, has died.


An update from Elloree Erwin about Forum co-founder Sarah Stevenson.


U.S. Rep. Alma Adams honored Sarah Stevenson in a floor speech in the U.S. House.


In a proclamation signed by Chairman George Dunlap, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners declared ‘Ms. Sarah Mingo Stevenson Day.’


An update from Elloree Erwin about Forum co-founder Sarah Stevenson.


An update on Sarah Stevenson, from her sister Elloree.


Forum meetings canceled through end of March, with review on or about March 31.


Forum meeting for Tuesday is cancelled.


At year’s end for some years, the Forum has set aside all things serious and gathered for breakfast, fellowship and games.


Forum participants mark the 94th birthday of Sarah Stevenson, co-founder of the Forum.

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Inside the Forum