In 2020 we talked about Fault Lines- those divisions, buried in our ground, that produce tremors and upheaval. But the hardest part sometimes comes AFTER the earthquake. The aftershocks, which can occur without notice, often jolt survivors out of a false sense of complacency that the worst is over. These resulting reverberations remind us of our shared responsibility to rebuild on firmer footing. In this year’s program, CMS Foundation Executive Director Sonja Gantt spoke with Dr. Clint Smith, author of New York Times Bestseller How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, about reckoning with aftershocks.
In addition to having an opportunity to connect with each other, we heard from people in the community about how they plan to Recommit, Reconnect, and Rebuild.
Clint Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of the narrative nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, which was a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and the poetry collection Counting Descent, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.
He has received fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New America, the Emerson Collective, the Art For Justice Fund, Cave Canem, and the National Science Foundation. His essays, poems, and scholarly writing have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, the Harvard Educational Review and elsewhere.
Sonja Gantt is the Executive Director of the CMS Foundation, ensuring the foundation carries out its mission to support students and educators in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. In her role, she oversees the organization’s strategic direction, administration, fundraising and programmatic focus areas. She also serves as a member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools executive leadership team, a role that gives her deep insight into both the challenges and opportunities within CMS.
Sonja, a Charlotte native, brings a deep knowledge of the local community to her work, having served the majority of her thirty-year media career as a reporter/anchor covering Mecklenburg County and the surrounding region. Her reporting has been celebrated with numerous awards including a Mid-South Regional Emmy in 2011.
Sonja is a proud CMS graduate of East Mecklenburg High School and holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She and her husband (Mitch) have two children who are both CMS graduates.