Read about important Crossroads Charlotte events, information and activities.
It seemed appropriate that Historian Karl Campbell (Appalachian State University, pictured top right) was the last of seven panelists to speak at “Moving Forward Together,” a public discussion on the implications of Amendment One presented by Foundation For The Carolinas* on May 2. He gave context to the upcoming May 8 vote – a constitutional amendment to define marriage between one man and one woman as the only legally recognized form of domestic union in North Carolina – by comparing it to other key democratic moments in North Carolina history that have pitted traditionalists versus modernists. While he expressed doubt that this vote would put an end to the debate on the issue, he urged both sides to fight hard, fight fair and not forget the humanness of this battle.
In fact, Wednesday night's discussion proved to be an excellent example of what a civil debate could look like, even when some participants have diametrically opposed viewpoints. Each panelist focused on a specific aspect of the proposed amendment – ranging from the legislative context of the amendment and its legal ramifications to its potential economic impact on local businesses.
While some speakers presented a neutral perspective, like Chief District Court Judge Lisa Bell, who concluded that it is impossible to say for sure what the legal ramifications of a passed amendment would be on domestic violence cases and child custody battles until such a time when the supreme court would have an opportunity to make a ruling, others were quite specific in their assessments.
"In a devilish stroke of irony -- this is impartial – ” said Russell Robinson, Esq., a caveat that drew laughter from the crowd of 100+ in McGlohon Theatre, “on its main purpose of protecting marriage," a passed amendment would expose it to an intense federal legal battle.
Dan Bishop, Esq., however, argued that there was no precedent that indicated that the proposed legislation would be more susceptible to federal legislation than in other states which have passed similar amendments.
- 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 Rev. Cassandra Jones stood in the pulpit at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, a guest pastor with a message of grace and salvation through humility.
Jones, an African-American who on most Sundays may be found serving as associate pastor at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, spoke to the largely white audience at The Plaza’s Holy Trinity on Sunday, March 25.
Her theme focused on a difficult passage from John 12: 20-23, in which Jesus humbles himself by riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. He at once is ridiculed.
Yet Jesus’ reputation had already intrigued a pilgrimage of Greeks, who wished to meet him in person. “They didn’t just want a third-party message,” she said.
Jones explained that Greeks were an uncommon race in Jerusalem and yet they had journeyed there to join his flock.
In addition to her work at Friendship Missionary Baptist, Jones serves as an adjunct faculty member at Shaw Divinity School and recently joined the faculty at New Life Theological Seminary as a professor of Christian education.
- Mayor Anthony Foxx and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Coalition for Housing hosted an Interfaith Summit on affordable housing and homelessness. The event drew more than 300 people Friday to the Park Expo and Conference Center. Those gathered represented almost 100 area churches. The featured speaker was The Rev. Floyd Flake, a former New York congressman and the pastor of Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York who spearheaded a renewal of the Jamaica neighborhood in Queens. According to The Charlotte Observer, the Rev. Flake cautioned the hundreds of elected officials, agency executives and spiritual representatives that they had to put differences aside, act fast and produce clear results. "Nobody wants to climb on a train that's stopped in the middle of the tracks," he said. Click here for Observer photos from the event.
- Affordable Housing and Homlessness were the topic on WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins on Tuesday. Among those interviewed about the state of the homeless and efforts to help: Mike Rizer - Chairman, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Coalition for Housing; Dr. Maria Hanlin - Executive Director, Mecklenburg Ministries; Kelly Lynn - Director of Development at Charlotte Family Housing; and David Levine - Director of Media, Serve Charlotte's Homeless. Click here to listen to the program.
- Sibusiso Monguni led the combined choirs of Mallard Creek High School and his Hlanganani! 2012 Unity Tour Honors Chorus of South Africa for an impromptu performance of a traditional African song and dance at Mallard Creek High Friday. Friendship Missionary Baptist Church is hosting the African students for a month-long visit. The choir performed for the public at Missionary Baptist Church on Beatties Ford Road Monday.
- Most North Carolinians oppose a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, new poll results show. The amendment will be on the May 8 ballot. The survey found 54% of N.C. residents opposed the constitutional amendment and 38% supported it.
- CLT Blog is hosting "282," a weekly TV news show about hot topics in Charlotte and beyond. Recently, the show featured discussions on the importance of minority voter turnout for the 2012 election with Rod Garvin, who is on the leadership team for the Hip Hop Caucus in Charlotte, and social entrepreneurship with Charles Thomas of Queen City Forward, a nonprofit that helps social entrepreneurs use business strategies to solve social problems.
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