NC county votes to spend millions to make amends to Black community for decades of harmful policies

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46) – “There are historical struggles that have taken place in Charlotte,” Willie Keaton Jr. said.

The activist and Charlotte resident says a long history of harmful practices has made lasting impacts on the Queen City’s black community.

What was once the most successful black community in the 1800’s, became a focal point of redevelopment.

Black people were eventually forced out of Charlotte’s Brooklyn community in the 1970’s due to urban renewal.      

“There are so many areas where you see people of color, particularly the African American community are really being hit hard as it relates to racial disparities,” Mecklenburg County Commissioner Mark Jerrell said.

Jerrell says he hopes new investments by the county will be the starting point of amending years of damage endured by minorities.

“My framework is taking it from a macro-level, so it’s not a micro level on a specific community or incident that took place. But at a macro level, we are looking at how we can apply equity to our most vulnerable communities,” Jerrell said.

As part of the 2022 fiscal year budget, the county will spend $2 million on equity investments.

The county has not decided exactly where the money will go, but in his framework, Jerrell suggests education, small businesses, healthcare, and home ownership.

“It’s a great first step.  But there are more steps that need to take place,” Keaton said.

Jerrell said county will be forming a committee to study what areas are in most need of the funds.

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