Read about important Crossroads Charlotte events, information and activities.
The 2011-2012 Front Porch Grant Program came to a close last month with a celebration and sharing of stories amongst the 24 grant recipients. It was another successful year as organizations used up to $2,500 to build relationships across differences in the community. Both Above and Beyond Students and Supportive Housing Community (formerly St. Peter's Home/McCreesh Place) shared their program stories with the group at large.
With it's second year of funding from Front Porch, Above and Beyond Students, strengthened relationships between the Latino and African-American students at Eastway Middle School through their after-school program "Sewing Our Way To Stisterhood" in which the girls learned to sew and quilt. Together the diverse students created 25 dresses that a local church will take to an orphanage in Jamaica on mission trip in July. Through the shared experience of learning and creating a new craft, the young women were able to create new relationships and build trust across their cultural differences as well as give back to those in need in another country.
On April 11, in the wake of news that George Zimmerman was being arrested for the murder of Trayvon Martin, a diverse group gathered at Little Rock AME Zion Church to discuss the events leading up to it and its rippling affect on communities all around America.
Coordinated by The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee, Community Building Initiative and Mecklenburg Ministries, the topic for the night was "Can We Talk About Trayvon Martin: Why Is What Happened So Disturbing?"
Willie Ratchford, Executive Director of the Community Relations Committee, set the stage. He stated that what was needed was a "safe place to come together to have civil dialogue to discuss difficult situations."
Rick Thames, Editor of the Charlotte Observer, recounted the events, mostly taken from articles written by journalist Frances Robles for the Miami Herald. Trayvon, a 17-year-old high school student, was staying with his father and his father's fiancée in a gated community in Sanford, Fla. After returning from a store to purchase candy and a drink, Martin was followed by Zimmerman, a 28-year-old who volunteered with Neighborhood Watch, who according to the 911 phone call he made, felt Martin looked "suspicious." Zimmerman pursued Martin. And not long after, Trayvon was dead.
Moira Quinn, Senior Vice President of Charlotte City Partners, served as moderator and introduced the panel consisting of Brett Loftis, Executive Director of the Council for Children's Rights; Jelani Haskins, a student at Philip O. Berry Academy of Technology; Jose Hernandez-Paris, Diversity and Multicultural Education Specialist at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools; Brian Heslin, an attorney with Moore & Van Allen; and Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning journalist.
- N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue is urging voters to shoot down Amendment One, the proposal that would ban LGBT marriage and legal recognition for all unmarried couples and strip protections and benefits from families. Perdue, speaking at a women’s conference at UNC-Charlotte last week, announced her opposition to the May 8 referendum that would amend the state constitution. Perdue, a Democrat, is not running for re-election.
- Meanwhile, the City of Charlotte is considering offering benefits to same-sex partners of its employees, City Manager Curt Walton said during a budget meeting last week. Walton said the city is studying the issue, and expects it would cost $150,000 annually. The city spends about $40 million on health benefits a year. Mayor Anthony Foxx, a Democrat, said he’ll support the change.
- The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department says it needs to raise water and sewer rates by about 6 percent for the average customer to keep up with rising gas and electricity prices. Residential customers who use large amounts of water for irrigation will see a rate hike of 9 percent. A CMUD official says revenues from rates aren't keeping up with costs.
- A record crowd turned out on the first day of “Rise Above,” the exhibit about the Tuskegee Airmen, which features a P-51 Mustang like the ones flown by the famed African-American World War II flying unit. More than 500 people attended the exhibition Wednesday, Carolinas Aviation Museum officials said. It was the largest one-day attendance for any exhibit in the museum’s history. The program ran through Saturday.
- Charlotte’s Mint Museum plans to launch a research center based on North Carolina pottery as part of a major renovation of its Randolph Road campus. With 2,200 objects, some dating to the 1700s, the Mint has the largest and most comprehensive collection of North Carolina pottery in the nation. Mint officials says the pottery research center would underscore the state’s already high profile in the world of ceramics.
The public voted this month, and Crossroads Charlotte is excited to announce the latest round of winners for A.C.T. (Achieving Community Today) Projects. A.C.T. Projects are designed to fund small initiatives that will connect people across lines of difference. Members of the community submit ideas, and the public decides which will get funding by voting on Facebook. The winners receive up to $500 to implement their projects. This cycle there were three winning projects:
Winner #1: 10 Artists in 5 Days: A View of Charlotte Through the Arts by Aisha Alexander
This will be an innovative way to allow people to see the world through the eyes of another. People will be able to learn what’s special, but also what is universal in their identity, relationships and communities. During 5 “pop-up” conversations, with diverse audiences, attendees will all be asked: “What makes you, you?” and "What makes Charlotte, Charlotte?”. At each event, 2 local artists will paint a visual of the stories – live. At each event people will be exposed to diverse opinions and given a visual of the stories.
Winner #2: Graham Heights Spring Festival by Joe Howarth
The Spring Festival will be a cookout, organized by Graham Heights residents partnered with UNCC students. The event will be a venue so that Graham Heights residents and families can meet each other and enjoy fellowship in an informal environment over great food.
Winner #3: Projective Eye - Art in the House by Crista Cammoroto
Art-in-the-House would offer hands-on artistic experiences such as painting, drawing, screen-printing, dance and music facilitated by faculty and staff of the College of Arts and Architecture at UNC Charlotte. Faculty will guide participants through the process of creating a piece of art, learning a dance, or playing a musical instrument or composition. Participants will then get to produce a piece of their own!
Congratulations to all of our winners! This is the final round of A.C.T. Projects. Since the first cycle of awards was given in December 2010, Crossroads Charlotte A.C.T. (Achieving Community Today) Projects have enabled 19 individuals to make a difference in their communities by funding their ideas.
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