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Charlotte, NC


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March 24, 2009

Mary Wilson offered an explanation of her first months as director of the Mecklenburg Department of Social Services Tuesday.

She addressed controversy surrounding hiring children of prominent friends. She said she had fired no one. And she recommitted herself to shaking up a "we-do-it-this-way" culture to deliver assistance to the growing number of Mecklenburg citizens in financial or other crisis.




Wilson's appearance drew coverage from QCitymetro.com, a news website owned by Glenn and Patsy Burkins that they describe as "an independent, locally owned website offering news and information specific to Charlotte's African American community. "
























One man, 21 'young ladies,' 21 children


At Tuesday's Forum, Community Relations Committee Director Willie Ratchford offered the following explanation for why the community needs to focus on helping students learn parenting skills.


"The problems are getting too bad for us not to take this seriously and not to be committed to doing something. If we don't we're going to pay for it somewhere down the road....

"We've had a number of conversations with young black males who are fathers, and this is the position that these folk take. Now, some folk may end up being upset with me with what I am about to say, but that's OK because if you've got a problem you've got to deal with it and you've got to acknowledge what it is.

"We've got a lot of young black males in this community who state that, 'When I with the young lady, we were having fun and kickin', and if she did not protect herself and she got pregnant, that's on her. That has nothing to do with me.'

"Now, over the past couple of weeks I have heard stories about three young men here in Charlotte.

"One young man's name is Dantre. Dantre is 19 years old, and supposedly Dantre has 21 children by 21 different young ladies in this community.

"There's another young man who is 21 who lives in Griertown, who has 11 children by 11 different young ladies.

"And there's another young man who is in his mid-30s who has 14 children in the Griertown area by different young ladies. And recently he had to have a conversation with one of his sons who was interested in a young lady. And he had to pull him aside and let him know, 'That's your sister. You can't take her.'

"So that's what we're dealing with. This is the essence of the crisis. And with these community circles we have got to be a little more committed and do this long-term, doing this much better than we have been doing previously. If we don't, we're going to end up paying for it major."


Ratchford's comments came during discussion of "Achieve Together," a Lee Institute initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that will support a small number of "community circles" in area living rooms and other meeting places to identify ways to support CMS Achievement Zone high schools.




























The Forum welcomes all persons to its meetings beginning at 8 a.m. most Tuesdays of the year
at the West Charlotte Recreation Center, 2222 Kendall Drive, Charlotte, NC
down the hill from West Charlotte High School.