Welcome!

Announcements

As of 4-16-2024

April 18: MeckMIN Faith Leader Lunch, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Union Seminary, 5141 Sharon Rd. Register here.

April 18: Adult digital literacy class, free, noon-2 p.m., Genesis Project, 5104 Reagan Dr.

April 20: Charlotte African American Festival, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Grady Cole Center, 301 Kings Dr.

April 24: CMS Supplier Diversity Summit, 9-11 a.m., free, Goodwill Opportunity Campus, 5301 Wilkinson Blvd. Reservations here.

April 24: MeckMIN nonviolent communication training, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Baha’i Center, 3514 Marvin Rd. Register here.

April 25: “Talking Policy in the Queen City,” a panel discussion addressing homelessness and housing policy, free, 7 p.m. UNCC Center City, 320 E. 9th St. Register here.

April 25: Memorial for the late Superior Court Judge Shirley Fulton, who died Feb. 8, 2023, 5:30 p.m., Mecklenburg County Courthouse, 832 E. 4th St. Obituary here.

April 25: Money Magnets Club’s “FinLit Families: Multigenerational Money, ages 5-18 and their families, 6-8 p.m., 2400 Greenland Ave. Info here. Register here. Impact report for 2023 here.

April 27: NC Rep. Terry Brown Jr. quarterly office hours, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Javesca Coffee, 13501 S Tryon St.

April 27: Great West Side Fish Fry, 1-7 p.m., West Complex, 1600 W. Trade St.

April 27: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Purple Stride walk, from 7:30 a.m., walk 9-11, Romare Bearden Park. Register here. Flier here and here.

April 27: City Planning Academy Bootcamp, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Applications due March 31. Apply here.

April 29-30: North Carolina Black Alliance training for Carolinas activists looking for ways to inform their communities about local issues and to hold their local leaders accountable. Sessions 10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 29; 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m April 30 at Belmont Regional Center, 700 Parkwood Ave., Charlotte. Participants will be present at April 30 Forum. Register here.

April 29-May 4: Diamond Tours trip with Dr. Blanche Penn and Tonia Cherry to Biloxi and New Orleans, $770.

May 2: MeckMIN Annual Community Leader Awards fundraising breakfast, 7:30 a.m., Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. Tickets $60 and up here.

May 23: Building Opportunities for Strategies and Success Conference, an annual event that “celebrates and empowers minority and women-owned small business owners,” from 8 a.m., UNC Charlotte Marriott Hotel, 9041 Robert D Snyder Rd. Info here. Register here.

June 1: Friends of West Meck 4th Annual Future Ready Fundraiser, 4-8 p.m., Charlotte Art League building, 4237 Raleigh St. Tickets $100-$125 here.

June 3: Juneteenth flag raising, 11:30 a.m., Ebenezer Baptist Church, 2020 W Sugar Creek Rd.

June 12: Friends of West Meck 4th Annual Future Ready Fundraiser, 4-8 p.m., Charlotte Art League building, 4237 Raleigh St. Tickets $100-$125 here.

June 24-27: Diamond Tours trip with Dr. Blanche Penn and Tonia Cherry to Amelia Island, St. Augustine and Jacksonville, Fla., $480.

July 29-Aug. 3: Diamond Tours trip with Dr. Blanche Penn and Petronila Clark to Memphis, $765.

Oct. 14-16: Diamond Tours trip with Dr. Blanche Penn and Venitra White-Dean to Charleston, $480.

Candidates, Elected Officials, Etc.

Alma Adams 4-11 4-16

Sherrell Dorsey 4-15

Jeff Jackson 4-15

Natasha Marcus 4-15

Joyce Waddell 4-15

Governments, Nonprofits, etc.

CMS Demolition contract pre-bid meeting 4-10

Counciil for Childrren’s Rights 4-16

Frst In Families 4-12

Knight Foundation 4-12

NC Administrative Office of the Courts 4-10

New Rural Project 4-15

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Announcements Archive

Education & Health

4-9-2024

As a teen, Robin Price first observed a woman’s anxiety during childbirth when trying to support a good friend. Today, her business as a doula has taught her what women need to stay focused on health, and joyful in giving birth.

11-14-2023

There’s help for those lost in the labyrinth called Health Insurance Coverage. Deadlines in both Medicare and Obamacare programs are looming.

10-31-2023

Varnell Bien-Aime discusses his work with Reggie Singleton at The Males Place, a 30-year project to help guide teenaged boys toward a healthy and responsible adulthood.

10-10-2023

A panel of school bond advocates and CMS’s top facilities planner fielded questions about the bond campaign, its potential to hasten gentrification, and whether there is buy-in from all governmental and other units to reverse the economic decline of westside neighborhoods.

7-18-2023

CMS Superintendent Dr. Crystal L. Hill began with the family that shaped her, made a case that students are making up for lost time during the pandemic, and expressed a commitment to be the communicator-in-chief with the school district’s multiple constituencies that she will serve.

7-11-2023

Sharon Geter, left, and Elizabeth Colen shared details of barriers they have faced in reaching their business objectives.

6-18-2023

Longtime CMS observer Bolyn McClung offers state data illustrating persistent achievement gaps between schools.

5-16-2023

Dr. Alyssa M. Burns and her Accellacare team explained clinical drug trials and their key role in assessing drugs’ usefulness and value in improving quality of life.

4-18-2023

Dr Tempest Leake, whose second son has autism, was on a panel discussing a brain impairment that affects each person differently, but often leads to impaired verbal skills.

3-21-2023

Four nurses who were pioneers in the desegregation of their profession and local hospitals recall the struggle.

3-14-2023

Dr. Monique May commented on foods and cooking methods and how people might eat more heathfully.

2-21-2023

Four of the six CMS board members elected from districts discussed what’s on the table, both as they meet and as they huddle one-on-one to find a way forward for children.

2-7-2023

Alumni of Mecklenburg’s Black schools gathered to share with younger generations why they think they thrived, despite the racism and inequities that surrounded them.

1-31-2023

Mic Alexander trains work groups and individuals on how to read the room and respond appropriately even as stress mounts.

12-13-2022

Daisha Wall presented the work of CleanAIRENC to gather the data that can pressure polluters to help make westside neighborhoods healthier places to live.

12-7-2022

A longtime observer of North Carolina public policy comments on the key role of public education in action to “alleviate poverty and propel upward mobility.”

11-4-2022

The N.C. Supreme Court handed down a decision outlining a path toward ordering new state financing to ensure a sound basic education for all children.

8-16-2022

Dr. Victor Mack led a discussion of pre-college programs for youth supported both by UNCC and the 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte organization.

8-9-2022

Raymond ‘Raki’ McGregor is among Charlotte Executive Leadership Council members working inside CMS to improve student outcomes.

7-11-2022

Aug. 1 opens application period for annual applications for free- and reduced-price lunches for some CMS families.

View the Archives for
Education & Health

Community & Housing

4-16-2024

More than 400 Mecklenburg children are in foster care. Three people whose organizations help these children described complex issues the children face, the need for foster parents, and the way many of the children face homelessness on their 18th birthday.

4-2-2024

Greg Jackson tells of his journey from Bronx drug dealer to fund-raiser and leader of what he calls a “revolution” to rebuild Black community viability in Charlotte for the homeless families finding at his Heal Charlotte the wraparound services they need.

3-21-2024

Bertha Maxwell-Roddey, co-founder of the Afro American Cultural and Service Center, later renamed in honor of Harvey Gantt, has died.

3-15-2024

Residents have been invited to take part in telling the 250-year history of Mecklenburg County.

12-5-2023

Ratasha Smith, advocacy co-chair of the Urban League Young Professionals group, explained some of the group’s work to encourage participation in community affairs.

11-28-2023

Jessica Leflowitz, left, and Judith Brown have built small organizations doing big work with disability and homeless populations.

11-21-2023

Three panelists lay out programs available to low-income households to assist with tax bills, energy expenses and renovation projects.

8-1-2023

Robyn Lake Hamilton, named interim leader of the Central Carolinas Urban League last winter, laid out an agenda for the group that is both new and steeped in the national group’s history.

8-1-2023

Valaida Fullwood announced Black Philanthropy Month and some events connected with that celebration.

7-25-2023

Rachel Zwipf from Pottstown Heritage Group recounted efforts to stabilize and protect Huntersville’s historically Black neighborhood and its mostly senior residents from gentrification.

6-20-2023

Shannon Burns, left, Laura Belcher and Julie Porter outlined issues behind the difficulty of building, financing and finding affordable housing in Charlotte.

6-6-2023

Dennis Miller, left, and Travis Sheridan offered an update from developer Wexford Science & Technology on construction under way for Charlotte’s first medical school.

5-30-2023

Ray High, left, is spearheading plans for a 2024 Charlotte Black Creative Arts Festival.

5-23-2023

Jamese Ivy led a United Way update focused on upcoming deadlines for grant applications.

5-9-2023

Sherri Chisholm and other staff from Leading on Opportunity returned to the Forum with an update on their work in the shadow of Raj Chetty’s “50th of 50” study on social mobility.

5-2-2023

Chrystal Joy and Toni Tupponce from Lee Institute, working for county commissioners, listened for views on the impact on neighborhoods from large investor groups’ ownership of single-family homes.

4-25-2023

Copeland Barbee and others from the Center for Digital Equity explained how a multi-partner project is putting laptops in the hands of people who need them, then training them through the move into the digital age.

4-4-2023

Steve Crump, the veteran television journalist and documentarian, shared with the Forum his latest effort: “Andrew Young’s Datelines of Protest.”

3-28-2023

Sandra Cummings, left, and three other women shared their experiences as trailblazers for other women as they broke into the male-dominated lawyer profession.

3-7-2023

Charlene Price-Patterson, left, Debbie Mann Gibbs and Bea Thompson recounted the early years of women in Charlotte television.

View the Archives for
Housing, Work, Community

Growing Business

3-19-2024

Five who weathered the bad times, and good, in the decades of opening up a white male-dominated banking culture.

3-12-2024

Carol Lilly, left, and Stephane Joyner have successfully led many a struggling minority business owner through the mine fields awaiting applicants for construction contracts.

2-27-2024

Three leaders of businesses discuss revival of the Beatties Ford Road retail corridor.

1-9-2024

Daks McClettie Sr. learned the insurance agency trade under the tutelage of two longtime Charlotte agency owners. Retired agent Bob White joined the conversation.

12-20-2023

An updated version of the MyFutureNC report has a grim warning about North Carolina’s future.

6-27-2023

Carrie Cook discussed some of the work of the Federal Reserve toward financing businesses, consumer protection and community development.

3-15-2023

Sherrell Dorsey, once based in Charlotte, has announced the unplugging of “The Plug,” an online chronicler of Blacks in the tech industry.

2-14-2023

Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority CFO Anthony Shelborne explains the group’s outreach to area companies for help with venue hospitality.

12-6-2022

Traletta Banks, left, was one of four entrepreneurial minds in different economic sectors explaining their challenges, and seeing opportunities to work together.

11-29-2022

Frances Hall recounts her struggle to bring training in the construction trades to young people who turn their new skills into gainful employment.

11-15-2022

Cheryse Terry shared the story of how life events led her to the successful creation of a new Black-owned coffee shop and gathering place on Beatties Ford Road.

7-10-2022

An overview of the Growing Business category.

7-10-2022

Book review by Daniel Souleles , left, may offer a routine-stopping opportunity to think about how systems can hurt people.

5-10-2022

A study tracks the implications of continuing inequities in entrepreneurial opportunity.

3-20-2022

John McDonald created at LaSalle and Beatties Ford a community meeting spot. The building’s new owner is seeking historic status for the site.

2-22-2022

Steven Coker was among City of Charlotte staffers describing efforts to include minority-owned firms in city contracting.

1-19-2022

Guide published to the 20-some murals along Beatties Ford Road.

1-18-2022

Kevin Price, left, led the Durham-based National Institute of Minority Economic Development in a review of their work in a five-state area.

1-11-2022

Rachelle Latimer, left, has pursued an entrepreneurial path to success. Her words may be inspiring to those who are committed, driven and hungry.

12-7-2021

CEO Teddy McDaniel, left, and COO Dr. Fahnie Shaw discuss how the Urban League is targeting economic gaps and employment opportunities.

View the Archives for
Commentary

Government & Politics

3-27-2024

City Council member James Mitchell and seven friends in local government and politics explore their shared understanding of what helps nurture community-focused leaders.

2-20-2024

Three retired Mecklenburg judges offer insights from their years as traiblazing African-Amercan judges in District and Superior Courts.

6-16-2023

The U.S. Justice Department released a report on Minneapolis conditions that contributed to the 2020 murder of George Floyd, and its recommendations for reform.

4-11-2023

Caleb Theodros was among the speakers as the Forum hosted a community discussion of how Rep. Tricia Cotham’s announced switch to the GOP may alter the balance of power between the legislative and executive branches.

1-17-2023

Kristie Puckett-Williams told her story, and the story of hundreds of women incarcerated in North Carolina, who do not receive appropriate care when pregnant.

10-11-2022

Faith Triggs, a volunteer with the Vote Yes for City Bonds Committee, led off a discussion of what’s in the Nov. 8 city bond referendum package.

9-6-2022

Congresswoman Alma Adams gave an update on work that Congress has been doing, and her efforts to bring factions together to serve the American people.

6-15-2022

Community Relations held a virtual session on its Americans With Disabilities Act Transition Plan.

6-14-2022

County Tax Assessor Ken Joyner explained how NC law limits action to protect homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods from crushing tax bills.

5-31-2022

City Manager Marcus Jones, left, and Mayor Vi Lyles fielded questions from constituents impatient for conditions to improve in underserved westside neighborhoods.

5-24-2022

Longtime city and county leader Ella Scarborough has died, the Observer reported.

2-11-2022

A report from library staff runs down ways in which racist attitudes and policies have shaped Mecklenburg County.

2-1-2022

Alysia Osborne, left, and Interim Planning Director Alyson Craig gave an update on the city’s 2040 Plan.

1-30-2022

Court of Superior Court Elisa Chinn-Gary says she has reconsidered, and will file for re-election.

12-7-2021

District Court Judge Rickye McKoy-Mitchell announced her retirement effective next September.

12-7-2021

Elisa Chinn-Gary, a 20-year veteran of the Mecklenburg courts, won’t seek re-election as Clerk of Superior Court.

11-30-2021

A ceremony marked the retirement of Superior Court Judge Donnie Hoover.

11-12-2021

Assistance with heating bills available this winter to low-income families.

9-7-2021

Sen. Natasha Marcus, head of the Mecklenburg legislative delegation, reviewed successes and challenges in Raleigh.

8-31-2021

Hannah Terrell, left, led a discussion of how the library system stays open to serve its users in the community – and nation.

View the Archives for
Government & Politics

Candidates & Ballots

3-5-2024

Election results for the March 5, 2024 primary.

2-13-2024

Felicia Thompkins faces incumbent George Dunlap and Charles Osborne faces incumbent Vilma Leake in Democratic primaries March 5.

2-6-2024

All five Democratic candidates for three at-large County Commissioner seats spoke about Mecklenburg’s challenges amid rapid growth and multiple human services crises.

1-30-2024

Forum heard from four of the six candidates in March 5 primaries for House Districts 98 and 106, and Senate District 42.

1-23-2024

Dr. Yolanda Holmes and Nicole Sidman made their case for the chance to face Tricia Cotham in redrawn NC House District 105.

1-16-2024

Democratic candidates in the March 5 NC Senate 41 primary focused on working across the aisle in a Republican-dominated legislature.

12-17-2023

Candidates facing primary challenges on the March 5 Super Tuesday ballot are listed here.

11-7-2023

Mecklenburg voting results for school bonds and board and Charlotte city officials.

10-31-2023

U.S. Rep. Jeff Jackson vowed that, if elected as the next N.C. Attorney General, he would refocus N.C. law enforcement energies on fentanyl, the poison that is killing North Carolinians and Americans nationwide.

10-17-2023

Democrat Tiawana Brown answers questions about the District 3 City Council race on Nov. 7.

9-26-2023

The last group of candidates on the Nov. 7 ballot running for three CMS school board seats presented today.

9-19-2023

Five of the 14 candidates on the Nov. 7 ballot for three at-large seats on the CMS Board of Education addressed the Forum.

9-12-2023

Preliminary results in Charlotte primary election, as reported by the State Board of Elections.

9-5-2023

Forum heard from four of the six Democrats involved in City Council primaries for Districts 4 and 5 on Sept. 12.

8-29-2023

Tiawana Brown, left, and Warren Turner, two of the three District 3 Council Democratic primary candidates, offered views on the needs of the city and its people.

8-22-2023

Robert Dawkins offered a summary of state voting rules applying to the Sept. 12 primary election.

8-22-2023

Malcolm Graham, left, defends his District 2 City Council record in session with challenger Gary Young.

8-15-2023

Five of six Democrats in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary for four City Council At-Large seats explored their roles in moving the city forward.

8-8-2023

Mayor Vi Lyles, a Democrat in the September primary, and Rob Yates, a Libertarian wiith no primary, discussed city growth issues.

11-8-2022

Nov. 8, 2022 voting results for candidates on the Mecklenburg ballot.

View the Archives for
Candidates & Ballots

Forum & Commentary

4-11-2024

The NC Black Alliance plans to have Carolinas community activists at the Forum April 30 as part of a training on ways to inform their hometowns about community issues and organize for change.

3-25-2024

Gene Carney, husband of longtime Forum participant and N.C. House member Becky Carney, has died.

12-12-2023

Short video from the 2023 edition of the Forum’s Christmas Party.

12-6-2023

These seasonal pictures were published in the “Recently at the Forum” space on the front of this website during the Forum’s winter holiday.

11-28-2023

Natheley McElrath announces details of the 2023 Forum Christmas Party on Dec. 12.

10-24-2023

An Open Forum focused on the concerns that people brought with them: Holding leaders accountable for doinig what they promised; school bonds; rendering restorative justice; reaching youth; bolstering civic knowledge.

9-26-2023

Sarah Stevenson, co-founder of the Forum, has died. More information from her funeral and a Celebration of LIfe.

6-30-2023

A bit of flora for the Fourth of July holiday period.

6-13-2023

Regulars at the Forum, joined by a large Facebook audience, reviewed how a decades-old mainstay of community building can serve younger generations, as well as involve them.

2-24-2023

Jimmy Carter’s prophetic words from 1979 deserve a re-reading in 2023 America.

2-1-2023

The Forum’s website marked Black History Month 2023 with this collection honoring local African Americans who have helped shape that history.

1-10-2023

Facilitator WInston Robinson led participants in a discussion of how the Forum might help the community focus on the issues it faces.

1-1-2023

Who will lead efforts to solve key community issues instead of just kicking them down the road?

12-19-2022

These windows on the 2022 holidays were published in the “Recently at the Forum” space on the front of this website during the Forum’s winter holiday.

12-13-2022

Mary Klenz offered a remembrance of educator and mixed-income housing advocate Richard McElrath.

10-25-2022

Forum co-founder Sarah Stevenson marked her 97th birthday at the Forum.

6-7-2022

Ceretha Sherrill shared personal reflections on the occasion of the upcoming Juneteenth celebration.

6-1-2022

DonnaMarie Woodson continues her series, ‘Incredible Black Women You Should Know About,” with Hollywood actress Frederika “Fredi” Washington, who refused to ‘pass’ in 1930s Hollywood.

5-31-2022

Clips from May 31 Forum video focus on issues raised by initial use of Quad camera in Cisco Web Kit.

5-11-2022

The room where the Forum has met in person since 2016 has had an upgrade since the pandemic lockdown.

View the Archives for
Inside the Forum