The Impact of Segregation

The Impact of Segregation

Data clearly emphasizes Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s profound segregation by both race and income, and how significant a barrier it is to opportunity.

Segregation stands apart as a cross-cutting factor because it is foundational to everything else. Not only are we segregated by race and ethnicity, we are also segregated by wealth and poverty. Maps of our county consistently reflect a “crescent” of lower-opportunity neighborhoods dominated by people of color in contrast with a “wedge” of white, wealthier residents in south and north Mecklenburg.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg has a deep history of segregation and discrimination that has manifested in community and neighborhood development over the years, and patterns of isolation that have evolved. Recent research indicates that this racial and economic segregation has deepened the gap in opportunity, despite many advancements in becoming a more inclusive community. Segregation is particularly difficult as it is a barrier that we, as a part of larger American society, have little practice in confronting openly and intentionally.

The longer we permit our current systems, policies and institutions to remain unchanged and implicit bias to play a role, the more lasting these trends will become—only exacerbating the divide in our community. The recent police shooting and subsequent protests focused our collective attention on the stark divide that exists. We may have inherited the obstacles to opportunity put in place over generations, but we have the power and responsibility to ensure this same inheritance is not passed on to our children and youth.

Strategies to Address Impact of Segregation

  • Strategy A/1

    Acknowledge the significant roles segregation and racialization have played in our current opportunity narrative and commit to becoming a more inclusive, fair, and just community.

  • Strategy B/2

    Address the complex, multi-faceted issue of school segregation with a systems approach.

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Agents of Change

Leading on Opportunity works alongside community to reduce the impact of segregation, fostering inclusion and equity.

Don Thomas

Community Impact Director

Stephanie Kripa Cooper-Lewter, Ph.D.

Executive Director

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The Impact of Segregation.

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Meeting Presents Opportunity to Galvanize Community for Lakeview

WSOC • Kevin Campbell - August 28, 2019

“We need to lift up potential bright spots in neighborhoods like Lakeview,” Cooper-Lewter said. “If things are going to change, we have to have conversations and work.”

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Community Conversation: The American Dream vs. Charlotte Reality

WBTV • Dedrick Russell - July 26, 2019

Featuring Leading on Opportunity Executive Director Stephanie Cooper-Lewter, Leading on Opportunity Council Member and County Manager Dena Diorio, and community organizations like Crisis Assistance Ministries, Central Piedmont Community College, the Urban League of Central Carolinas, Meck Pre-K, and Workforce Investment Network.

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The Economist Who Would Fix the American Dream

The Atlantic • Gareth Cook - July 17, 2019

"No one has done more to dispel the myth of social mobility than Raj Chetty. But he has a plan to make equality of opportunity a reality ... In Charlotte ... Opportunity Insights is planning housing and higher-education initiatives, but social capital is at the center of its approach. It is working with a local organization called Leading on Opportunity, and looking at nonprofits that are already operating successfully, including Communities in Schools, a national group that provides comprehensive student support, as well as a job-training program called Year Up."

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Let's Talk About Race: Race and Poverty Workshop

September 22, 2019

Let's Talk About Race: Race and Poverty Workshop

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Featured Event Leading on Opportunity Invites You: On the Table Community Partners and Hosts Training Session 4

September 25, 2019

Leading on Opportunity Invites You: On the Table Community Partners and Hosts Training Session 4

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Featured Event Leading on Opportunity Invites You: On the Table Community Partners and Hosts Training Session 5

October 16, 2019

Leading on Opportunity Invites You: On the Table Community Partners and Hosts Training Session 5

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