Read about important Crossroads Charlotte events, information and activities.
The next challenge facing Charlotte’s leaders isn’t the fight for equality, but the fight to treat each other ethically. This is a struggle without an easily recognizable enemy. This battle doesn’t have separate but equal water fountains to dismantle, and it has even fewer laws to pass or overturn. It’s a fight that challenges us to uphold the principles that are the fabric of what American strives to be.
This battle requires us to acknowledge that we are different, to embrace those differences and to treat each other with human dignity.
On Tuesday, March 20, Davidson College President Carol Quillen discussed this new challenge during her keynote address at A Woman’s Place, hosted by Levine Museum of the New South at ImaginOn. Quillen’s talk was part of the celebration honoring Rabbi Judy Schindler as the 2011 Charlotte Woman of the Year.
During the program, Crisis Assistance Ministries executive director Carol Hardison highlighted Schindler’s steadfast efforts to make Charlotte a more humane city. She recalled Schindler’s efforts to help Hurricane Katrina victims. Hardison noted Schindler’s creation of the “Souls...” documentary series which advocates for students, teachers and affordable housing. Hardison talked about Schindler’s decision to step into the fray over same-sex marriage by marrying seven couples in Washington last year.
The scenario is all too familiar for some. A good friend, or maybe a family member, is a victim of domestic violence. Her husband or boyfriend is physically or mentally – often both – abusive, but the victim keeps going back or never leaves.
On Saturday, about a half dozen people discussed this and other scenarios that challenge our inner peace during an A.C.T (Achieving Community Today)-sponsored discussion called “Beautiful from the Inside Out.” The talk targeted people who were victims of or who’ve been affected by domestic violence. It was the first part of a two-part Love Project created by Amy Stewart. The second part of the project involves documenting stories by people affected by domestic violence.
Stewart said she hopes the project will teach people to find the similarities with each other.
On Saturday, participants spent the first half of the five-hour workshop discussing a range of situations that challenge our inner peace. Dave Nichols talked about how the Lakewood Community became more united once neighbors talked more to each other and began to look out for each other. Thirteen-year-old Asia McLean told the group that she and her younger brother stopped listening to the radio because the music is too negative. She said she feels happier.
Artist Edwin Gil is at it again – uniting cultures through art. This time he using the tradition of quilting along with social media and good ol’ fashioned paint to create “Quilting Differences.”
The A.C.T. (Achieving Community Today)-funded project features 18 people, nine from the U.S. and nine from abroad. The participants’ childhood stories and favorite colors will create a multimedia quilt. On Saturday, local participants stopped by Gil Gallery to record their stories and paint their swatches.
Gil said he was particularly excited about using social media as a part of this project because it will help show people the range of uses for social media. For example, he’s using Skype to create works for “Quilting Differences.” In this project, people from throughout the world share stories from their past.
Marina Berdan participated in Saturday’s workshop because she wanted to share a story from her childhood in Russia. Berdan embodies the project’s soul. She is a Russian native who grew up in Charlotte and is marrying a Colombian-native who lives here as well.
“It brings the whole world together,” Berdan said. “The project, it pretty much shows that no matter where you’re from, no matter what you do you’re the same. “
Their mothers gave to the church, but they also helped raise money to help a struggling family. They came from small towns where giving wasn’t called philanthropy, it was called helping out.
They are attorneys, bankers and college students. They are also philanthropists. They joined Valaida Fullwood to discuss her book “Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists” at the YWCA on Wednesday, Jan. 11. Fullwood’s book features nearly 400 pages of profiles and photos of Charlotte-area African Americans. Local photographer Charles Thomas contributed the black & white photos to the project.
YWCA Central Carolinas CEO Kirsten Sikkelee said she was excited to host the event as part of the organization’s ongoing mission to combat racism and to highlight an aspect of African American culture that isn’t always spotlighted. “This is a conversation that the community hasn’t had,” Sikkelee said.
Along with discussing Fullwood's book, the workshop featured a multi-generational panel discussion about inclusive philanthropy. It was there that this new generation of philanthropists talked about how they never called what their families did inclusive philanthropy.
Panelists discussed what philanthropy looked like to them. It was helping a family pay rent or maybe helping them do their taxes. It was accepting a dozen eggs for payment.
“This whole culture and system of philanthropy developed outside of what we know as organized philanthropy,” Fullwood said.
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