New NAACP Report Highlights Ways Forward from Poverty in Charlotte, NC
By Malik Russell
CHARLOTTE, NC (February 1, 2018) – In a new report, the NAACP analyzes the impact of historical racism and segregation on Charlotte, NC and releases its recommendations for eliminating the entrenched poverty existing in large swaths of the city.
On Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 4pm, the NAACP will host a press conference at the Little Rock AME Zion Church (401, in which the civil rights organization will announce details and findings from its Economic Inclusion Plan for the city of Charlotte. Participants will include Corine Mack, President, Charlotte Mecklenburg County Branch of NAACP; James Mitchell, Councilman, Charlotte City Council; Braxton Winston, Councilman, Charlotte City Council; Lucille Puckett, Charlotte activist; and Robert Dawkins, State Organizer, NC SAFE. For an embargoed copy of the report, contact Vanessa Mbonu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Charlotte report is one of three reports to be released on February 6 on cities that have faced social unrest in recent years due in part to community sense of economic exclusion. The other reports spotlight Baltimore, MD and St. Louis, MO.
“Charlotte was once known as a site of great promise for racial justice,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “In 1974, it was called, ‘The City That Made Integration Work.’ However, the persistence of voter suppression has prevented this early progress from having a lasting effect on African Americans’ prosperity in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina.
With our Economic Inclusion Plan, we’re providing federal, state, and local government officials concrete recommendations on how to resolve issues pertaining to housing, jobs, and education in these Black communities.”
The Economic Inclusion Plan (EIP) will be a resource for community residents, elected officials and stakeholders to alleviate systematic, government-sanctioned racial discrimination with beneficial economic policy and programmatic solutions. Releasing an EIP for the cities of Baltimore, MD, Charlotte, NC, and St. Louis, MO, the NAACP analyzed how these three cities – each marked by a history of police brutality and social unrest – fare in the face of the economic inequalities that afflict them.
“These economic inclusion plans provide in-depth research on the current economic conditions and the policies that foster these conditions, and then makes recommended policy changes necessary in these cities,” said Marvin J. Owens Jr., NAACP Senior Director of Economic Programs. “We are grateful for the leadership of our local chapters and state conferences who contributed to this important work, and we are faithful in the fight for economic justice.”
Stark economic contrasts, many of which the report shows emerged from racist policies that promoted and reinforced segregation and access to resources, continue to mark Charlotte as we move deeper in the 21st century. The report revealed government-sanctioned practices that perpetuate homelessness and racial disparities in arrests and showed Charlotte to be one of the nation’s most gerrymandered districts.
The Charlotte report found that the Black poverty rate is more than double the white poverty rate within the metropolitan statistical district and Charlotte city. The disparity in child poverty is even greater: within Charlotte city, African American children are more than three times more likely to live in poverty than white children are, and Hispanic children are 5.5 times more likely. The Black unemployment rate within Charlotte city exceeds the white unemployment rate by a factor of 2.6 – higher than the national average.
The report makes extensive policy prescriptions for improving the economic wellbeing of African Americans in Charlotte and advancing an agenda that promotes affordable housing, combats homelessness, addresses barriers to quality education, and opposes all legislation that supports racial discrimination and perpetuates poverty.
The NAACP’s releases of the EIPs are part of the NAACP’s ongoing commitment to understanding the challenges facing communities of color and providing support for their growth.