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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The Agent of Change for Opportunity in Charlotte

WSOC TV • Kevin Campbell - June 10, 2019

“Our child and family stability strategies need to ensure that parents who are coming into a housing challenge of figuring out where they’re going to live have immediate access to resources,” Cooper-Lewter said. Among the many Cooper-Lewter has connected is a group of community organizations that have been champions for change, including, A Child’s Place, Community Link, Charlotte Works, Goodwill, Crisis Assistance Ministry, For Charlotte, Northside Baptist Church and more.

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Celebrating Our Community's Response

Leading on Opportunity

Our 2017 Opportunity Report provides a roadmap for improving social and economic mobility for all residents. Following our strategies, our community's public, private and nonprofit sectors are improving our children's future.

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GreenLight Fund Invests $1 Million in Early Childhood Initiative

Queen City Nerve • Ryan Pitkin - May 29, 2019

“This investment connects directly to our early care and education strategies,” [Leading on Opportunity Executive Director] Cooper-Lewter continued. “It aligns and fills a gap where early care recommendations were not being addressed and says, ‘This is something that we can do differently as a community.’”

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