CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association is talking about race. The association wanted to have a discussion that could help neighbors understand better the life of Blacks who live in the neighborhood and surrounding areas.
The neighborhood hopes what it is doing can lead to change when it comes to fighting racism and racial injustice.
"We certainly hope we can be a leader in Charlotte and hopefully be a leader nationally," Organizer David Hale said. "In saying in our communities we want change. We want to ensure that Black lives matter in Plaza Midwood and we want to ensure all of our neighbors - regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual reference can feel welcomed and comfortable and have enjoyable life in Plaza Midwood."
Participating in the conversation are Mecklenburg County Commissioner Mark Jerrell, Plaza Midwood resident Justin Perry, Merry Oaks resident Tonya Jameson and Villa Heights resident Angela Ambroise.
The neighborhood is serious about letting people know they are sincere in their efforts. The association is selling Black Lives Matter yard signs with profits going to GenOne Charlotte, an organization that helps fight systemic racism in the classrooms. The neighborhood also placed different books about race in the community’s free library stands that are stationed throughout the neighborhood.
“Neighbors can go out pick up a copy and read a little bit more,” Hale said. “And educate themselves a little bit more - but hopefully this is just the start of it.”
Panelists say having the conversation is good for the community but hopes it will turn into action.
“If we can have these honest conversations with the people who live right around us,” Panelist Tonya Jameson said. “Maybe we can start making better - more transformational change in the entire city.”
Jameson believes something powerful can come out of the conversation. But she says it’s going to take more than one conversation to create lasting change.
“The benchmark I would like to see is the next time we talk about an affordable housing project going up in a community that typically doesn’t have affordable housing,” Jameson said. “Instead of seeing the numbers skew to people who are against affordable housing maybe we see the numbers skew to people who support affordable housing.”
Other neighborhoods are also having conversations about what communities can do next to bring about change. South Charlotte community is having a conversation about next steps on Wednesday.