Recently at the Forum


As of 10-19-2021
The Stevenson Family plans a drop-in to mark Sarah Stevenson’s 96th birthday. The event will be at the Stevenson Apartments, named in her honor, on Tuesday, Oct. 26 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at 1445 Samuel St.
Sister Elloree Erwin explains: “We ask everyone who’s planning to visit, to RSVP no later than SUNDAY Oct, 24th. to this email address,, or call, 704-398-8399. Please give us the approximate time of your arrival, perhaps within 30 minutes. This will give us a chance to plan for everyone’s visit with her, safely and socially distanced.
“The address is 1445 Samuel St. 28206. It’s at the corner of LaSalle St. and Statesville Ave. Please enter the facility from Statesville Avenue. We’ll assist with parking both in and out…. If you have questions, please call. This will be, truly, a blessing for us and for her to have made it to another milestone.”
Upcoming Events
Oct. 20: CMS Municipal Education Advisory Committee, 11:30 a.m., discussion of Capital Needs Assessment process that will help shape contents of next school construction bond issue. Meeting livestream will be here.
Oct. 21: Public session (virtual), 6-7 p.m., to collect resident suggestions for “how best to reinvigorate” L.C. Coleman Park at 1501 McDonald St., behind Northwest School of the Arts off Beatties Ford Road. Register, map and more information here.
Oct. 23: 26th Annual Adams MadHatters hat auction and luncheon, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., LeMeridien Charlotte Hotel North Tower, 555 S. McDowell St. Register here.
Oct. 30: Unveiling of Julius Chambers statue, 10 a.m., Little Sugar Creek Greenway at Torrence Street and Kings Drive. Register here by Oct. 27.
Nov. 6: Ribbon cutting 10 a.m., grand opening 3-6 p.m., movie night until 9, for the city-owned open space to mark “The Ritz,” the last movie theater built in Charlotte exclusively for African Americans, which closed in 1971 and was later demolished. Explanation of funding and objectives for the space, as presented to City Council Aug. 9, is here. RSVP here. For further information, contact Erin Chantry by e-mail.
Nov. 6-14: “One For The Books” event to “say goodbye to the current building and welcome the future together.” Uptown Library.
Nov. 8: Fundraiser and discussion of “rural voter research and strategy to amplify rural voices, Zoom, 7-8 p.m. Register here.
Nov. 23: Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, virtual, 7 p.m.
July 18-23: Diamond Tours trip with Dr. Blanche Penn to the Gulf Coast for casino attractions.
Sept. 12-16: Diamond Tours trip with Dr. Blanche Penn to Cincinnati for Ark Encounter, Creation Museum, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – and a casino.
News & Handouts
Alma Adams 10-15 10-18 10-19
Natasha Marcus 10-15
Joyce Waddell 10-13
Goodwill Industries 10-13 10-19
NC Dept. of Health & Human Services 10-15
New Rural Project 10-16 10-19
UNCC Urban Institute 10-14
Urban League 10-15
View the
Announcements Archive

Education & Health


C.W. Williams Community Health Center has relocated medical services to Old Pineville Road while Wilkinson Boulevard building is replaced.


Dr. Kendra Jason, left, and Dr. Julian Montoro-Rodriguez outlined the support available from a UNCC program aimed at both paid and volunteer caregivers.


Thomas Osha from Baltimore developer Wexford helped Atrium Health’s Gene Woods explain to county officials their plans for an innovation district on urban renewal land north of Dilworth.


Supt. Earnest Winston outlined plans under way to help children catch up from pandemic learning loss.


Stephanie Sneed led a Black Political Caucus Q&A with Supt. Earnest Winston and other CMS officials.


Read Charlotte’s Munro Richardson leads a discussion on how organizations are collaborating to address reading achievement gaps.


A “massive community response” is needed to rescue young readers from effects of pandemic, Read Charlotte says.


Officials from Atrium Health and their real estate development partner, Wexford Science & Technology, shared some initial information about the Wake Forest/Atrium medical school project.


Land under the future med school was once home to some of the maids and orderlies, pressers and yardmen who helped build the City of Charlotte and nurture the medical colossus named Atrium.


CMS Board Chair Elyse Dashew and other school board members fielded questions about the upcoming startup of CMS schools.


Improving middle grade education should focus on the adults, not the schoolhouse grade structures, report says.


Former CMS Board Chair Arthur Griffin and County Board Chair George Dunlap collaborated on an analysis of Critical Race Theory.


Gwen Forney, left, spoke about reaching bored children. Others pursued other Covid-related issues at today’s Open Forum.


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.

View the Archives for
Education & Health

Housing, Work, Community


Center City Partners and Historic West End are trying to mesh their planning visions for overcoming the split caused by I-77 in the 1970s.


Dr. Shanté Williams described her work as an angel investor and as head of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce.


Mecklenburg is making $340 grants available to qualified applicants to help them stay in their homes.


JCSU Archivist Brandon Lunsford outlined what’s ahead for a long-term project on Black Charlotte neighborhoods.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


Ervin Bryson introduced his Carolina Energy arena football team and invited the public to attend games and get to know the team better.


Winston Robinson suggests a westside history museum focused on African-Americans’ contributions to Charlotte.

View the Archives for
Housing & Workplace



DonnaMarie Woodson contines her series, ‘Incredible Black Women You Should Know About,” with an essay on educator Mary Jane Patterson.


Arthur Griffin displays the pandemic’s role in a longtime erosion of reading skills and asks, where’s the outrage?


DonnaMarie Woodson opens her series, ‘Incredible Black Women You Should Know About,” with an essay on poet Phillis Wheatley.


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


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


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


DonnaMarie shares her awe at a passionate Change Maker who is 9 years old.


June 25, 2020 A statement to Bishops of the Episcopal Church by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, June 13, 2020.   


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


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


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.


Lucille Puckett, left, and others raised community issues for discussion at Tuesday’s Forum.


Debbie Giibbs, left, and Tonya Rivens comment on the early days of local television news broadcasting.


Jan Valder, left, Martha Alexander, Sara Spencer and Mary Klenz described their efforts to move causes forward, and to support one another.


Keysha Walker Taylor outlined the investments being made by the African American Community Foundation in Charlotte’s black community.


Ken Lemon, left, Brittney Johnson and Dedrick Russell explain the work of the Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists.


Jesse Cureton described his life from its beginnings in Southside Homes to the C-suite at Novant Health. Cureton talked about the One Charlotte project, and how Novant is finding ways to support the people left behind in a constantly upscaling city.


DonnaMarie Woodson reflects on the trailblazing career of Shirley Chisholm.

View the Archives for
Community Matters

Government & Politics


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


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


Details on an FCC program offering help with affording broadband services.


Center City Partners is seeking public comment on its 2040 plan.


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.


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


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


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


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


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.

View the Archives for
Government & Politics

Candidates & Ballots


Arthur Griffin Jr. announced to the Forum his candidacy for county commissioner at-large.


Jennifer De La Jara announced to the Forum her candidacy for at-large county commissioner.


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)

View the Archives for
Candidates & Ballots

Inside the Forum


Sarah Stevenson’s family plans a drop-in to mark her 96th birthday.


Sarah Stevenson joined her friends at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Sept. 19.


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.


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


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

View the Archives for
Inside the Forum