From Maria Hanlin of Mecklenburg Ministries, Dianne English of the Community Building Initiative and Willie Ratchford, of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee:
Over the last several weeks we've watched campaign rhetoric become increasingly personal, negative and divisive. It is polarizing us along many lines – race, economic status, age, gender, religious affiliation, political beliefs and educational status – just to name a few.
Especially in a time of intense economic uncertainty, this rhetoric can affect our ability to work together to solve problems and can, in the language of Crossroads Charlotte, lead us closer to “Fortress Charlotte” instead of toward a “Class Act” or a Charlotte that sees “Eye to Eye” (www.crossroadscharlotte.org).
Regardless of who is elected locally, regionally and nationally, there will be dashed hopes, profound disappointment and lingering fear among many in our community. These dynamics raise important questions:
How do we talk to one another across the real and perceived differences stirred up from the ground during this election season?
How do we prevent continuation or escalation of the rhetoric after the elections are over?
In times of economic challenge, how do we work collaboratively to address common issues and find solutions that give us hope for our future?
Do you share our concern in this time?
If so, we invite you to join us for a deliberative community dialogue: “Can We Talk to Each Other after the Election?
When: Thursday, Nov. 20, 7-8:30 p.m.
Where: Covenant Presbyterian Church.
Panelists will include City Council members Anthony Foxx and John Lassiter and Mecklenburg County commissioner Dan Ramirez.
Moderators will be the Rev. Claude Alexander and Moira Quinn.