Contact: Brad Thompson For Immediate Release
(919) 740-0110 December 6, 2010
NC Black Alliance Holds Statewide Meeting to Prioritize Agenda
Raleigh, NC—More than 35 African American leaders from across the state gathered on December 6 in the Seby Jones Fine Arts Building on Saint Augustine’s College campus to discuss important issues related to the future growth and prosperity of Black North Carolinians. The group included elected officials, union representatives, political action committees, local advocates and representatives of statewide organizations. Sponsored by the Alliance of North Carolina Black elected officials, the diverse group participated in a comprehensive review and discussion of issues such as North Carolina legislative redistricting, state budget and tax cuts and policy advocacy.
Presenters included Anthony E. Fairfax, of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice/Community Census & Redistricting Institute, Jarvis A. Hall, PhD., Director of The Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change at North Carolina Central University, and Alexandra Forter Sirota, Director of the North Carolina Justice Center N.C. Budget and Tax Center. The subsequent discussion was facilitated by Gerry Fisher.
The group identified 5 priority issues to be emphasized over the next 12 months -Healthcare, Redistricting, Economic Participation, Education and Criminal Justice. Additionally, the group agreed that veteran issues should be considered important.
Among the messages the participants plan to take back to their constituencies is the need to support open bidding for healthcare selection, as well as to fight for need mental health funding. They also hope to emphasize the need for more minorities trained in the medical field.
The group emphasized the need for fairness and inclusiveness in the redistricting process and hopes to raise community awareness about the process and its impact on their lives. Wealth building in the Black community is also a key concern. The group identified the need to retain federal funding for Minority Economic Development and maintain and strengthen Minority Business Participation Programs. Educating the community on sound finance and business practices, and how to combat foreclosures and unfair credit practices was also identified as a key component of wealth building.
Participants stated that combating the re-segregation of schools and supporting the equitable funding of low wealth schools should be high priorities. The group also noted the need to promote minority presence as educators, particularly males and to maintain dropout prevention initiatives. They also noted that teacher reduction should be our last resort in the budget-cutting process. Concerns were raised regarding reduced funding and the designating of institutions as “Minority Serving Institutions” to dilute the importance of HBCU’s.
There remains a need for more African American judges, justices, clerks of court and district attorneys as well as the need to protect the Racial Justice Act. The further criminalization of our youth and African American males is a real concern. The group voiced its continued support for sentencing reforms and re-entry and pre-trial programs. They also hope to push for expanded expungement opportunities and to stop the sale of criminal records. Participants also voiced their support for sentencing reform and the need to raise the felony conviction age from 16 to 18.
For more information contact Brad Thompson at (919) 833-6394 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also go to www.ncblacksummit.org for more information on the Alliance