Freedom and dignity are sometimes limited based on the color of our skin, who we love, gender. Policies and practices of segregation and discrimination unfairly narrow opportunity. If we want to realize the ideals of justice and liberty for all, we must acknowledge our history, and repair it.
I believe in equity: an allocation of resources that fairly distributes benefits and burdens. I also believe in justice, that is, the systematic removal of barriers to provide equitable opportunities and outcomes for all individuals in a diverse society.
For example, we need an African American Affairs Board in Raleigh. The city has various boards but none that specifically advance racial equity for African Americans. Black residents make up 30% of our city’s population and we must advance city policies that center their voices.
The Board could address issues like affordable housing, gentrification, police relations and wealth building, among others. It would help to ensure sustained investment in black and brown Raleigh. Listen to my comments about the need for the Board at the April 6th City Council meeting (minute 56.29).
We also need a police advisory board that has the tools to be successful. It was created last summer with the intent that it would be a trusted liaison between the community and police. Board members have raised concern that city leaders are not invested in its success. We have a responsibility to ensure true public safety that results in freedom and dignity for all.
Further, Raleigh should adopt a nondiscrimination ordinance to protect LGBTQ residents. In December 2020 a state ban on these types of ordinances was lifted. The ban was a legacy of HB2 and HB 142, laws that excluded lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from statewide nondiscrimination protections. Since its expiration, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Greensboro, among other N.C. communities, have passed LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances. It’s past time for Raleigh to do the same. Everyone deserves access to housing, public accommodations, and employment without discrimination.