A Vision Of Our Community

CBI joins countless others across Charlotte-Mecklenburg and the nation in mourning the murder of George Floyd, along with Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and others. We stand alongside those who recognize this as an inflection point, after which the disproportionate impacts of systemic racism can no longer go back into the ground of our community and our nation. While these impacts include police brutality, we cannot ignore the health disparities and economic injustice that have become even more apparent, as the COVID-19 virus has intersected with the virus of racism that has always been with us.
As an organization that began 23 years ago in response to the deaths of unarmed ​Black people at the hands of police, the reality that we are again crying out as a community in response to yet another such tragedy is a painful one.  But this is work we’ve been doing in partnership with so many across the community for more than two decades, and it is work we will continue alongside each of you in pursuit of the community we envision.
When we cast our Vision statement last year, it felt aspirational, as it certainly does today. But moments like this one reaffirm the importance of having such a vision, and working actively in its pursuit:

CBI envisions a connected community where everyone:

  • Wakes up to discrimination and injustice;
  • Interrupts inequitable systems and structures; and
  • Steps up to champion equal rights, access and opportunity.

In this moment, we invite you to ask the same questions we are asking ourselves, in the hope that they might help us all come closer to that vision:

  • In what ways are we a connected community? Who is being excluded?
  • What have we woken up to in recent days, and how are we inviting others to wake up?
  • What decisions can we make, to interrupt and create systems change?
  • How can each of us step up toward a more equitable and just community, and how can we take those steps together?

At kitchen tables, water coolers, and on video-conferences across the country, conversations are happening about topics that once weren’t discussed in those spaces. For many of us, these conversations are the first important step toward building the community we envision. We encourage you to keep having these conversations and exploring where you can be actively engaged.  If you don’t know where to start, our Talking Together in Challenging Times guide can help.
At CBI, we believe the shortest distance between two people can be a story – especially in times when “being proximate” is challenging.  We’re committed to using our platform to tell more of these stories, and to deepen the well of understanding from which our community can draw, as we connect across difference to learn, work and serve.  To that end, we invite you to share a piece of your story with us:  What is this time in our country’s and community’s life stirring in you?  Or, what commitment can you make, to take your next step toward building the community we all envision? ​Please share with us with an email in the days and weeks to come.
In grief and in gratitude,  ​
Annetta, Christi, Dianne and Megan
Our CBI Staff Team ​
Byron Hawkins and Rick McDermott
CBI Board of Directors

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