GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – North Carolina for Community and Justice works to make people feel like they belong in the Piedmont Triad. Better known as NCCJ, the organization encourages honest, open dialogue to fight bias, bigotry and racism.

“At the core, all of us want to feel included. We all have an experience where we’ve not felt included and what that feels like,” Executive Director Ivan Canada said.

NCCJ has focused on getting people engaged for 85 years.

Teens can participate in programs like Anytown and Starr, which stands for Students Talking About Race and Racism. There are also programs open to the larger community and that facilitate diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“We have a saying here at NCCJ that inclusion requires intention,” Canada said. “It’s something that just doesn’t happen because you want it to happen. It’s something that we’ve got to work towards every day and in many different ways to achieve inclusion.”

The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro has partnered with NCCJ through the years in a variety of ways from providing grants to partnering on community initiatives.

Donors and volunteers like Patricia Cross also get involved. Cross served on NCCJ’s board of directors for 20 years and says the nonprofit’s work is essential to make our community better for all of us.

“I think their goal is to get at the crux of what would make Greensboro a better place,” Cross said. “Of course, there’s the basic needs of feeding everybody and leading a healthy life, getting medical care. We’re not in that zone at all. We’re in a more invisible zone of people being good to other people, respecting other people, living well with other people, the quality of life. It’s really hard to measure quality of life and to work on it but they’re pretty good at it.”

The nonprofit will celebrate community members who are working to make a difference in diversity, equity and inclusion on Nov. 9. Money raised through NCCJ’s Citation Award Dinner funds half of what the organization does on a yearly basis. Anyone can nominate a recipient they feel is deserving of recognition and everyone is invited to purchase tickets to the dinner.

The Citation Award Dinner is happening at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro and will also be livestreamed. You can find more information or make a donation online to support NCCJ’s mission and programs.