A new community resource will encourage African Americans to be more involved politically, economically and in community service projects.
The North Mecklenburg Black Resource Association formed in January and has about 50 members from Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville. Only African American residents or business owners within the three towns can join. The organization meets monthly.
John Foster is the executive director and one of the association's three founders. He said the group's vision is to become a point of contact and a resource for businesses and newcomers in the area.
The Huntersville resident has run Foster's Frame and Art Gallery on Old Statesville Road in Huntersville for 10 years. He's also an active volunteer and has served on boards for the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Central Carolinas Mooresville-Lake Norman chapter.
Of that United Way's 23 board members, he said he's the only person of color.
There's also a struggle for the chamber to find minorities to be involved with chamber activities and to be willing to participate on boards and committees, Foster said. "There's a need to have minorities involved in these types of organizations, and we want to encourage them to do that. We want to increase political awareness for minorities, get them more engaged in political the process and encourage more individuals to serve as elected officials or serve on various boards."
While forming the association, there were talks about including other races, but Foster said the group decided broad inclusiveness may inhibit the group's overall goal.
"To try to take two different cultures and two different races, we thought that would be too overbearing," Foster said. "Right now we're trying to get established, then we'll work on growing and reaching out toward other minorities. It's not about being separate. It's about trying to show minorities we need to include ourselves in what's happening in our area. It's not just the minority community. I'm talking about the community as a whole."