Shaping Opportunity: Conversations with the Leading on Opportunity Council

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Leading on Opportunity Council Member Miriam Espaillat shares how her firm is addressing employee mental health during COVID-19.

By Loán C. Lake, Communications Director | July 1, 2020

Shaping Opportunity: Conversations with the Leading on Opportunity Council is a new video series to introduce you to members of our Council. We will highlight the work they are doing in the community to address systemic barriers to economic mobility, and currently, the disparate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From higher incidences of the virus in communities of color, to lack of access to proper testing and medical care, the COVID-19 pandemic has further revealed the disparities that have led to Charlotte’s economic mobility gap. Data has explicitly highlighted segregation’s expansive reach in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, by both race and income, and how significant a barrier it is to opportunity. The Impact of Segregation is revered as a cross-cutting factor because it is foundational to each of the other determinant areas. Recent research indicates that this racial and economic segregation has deepened the gap in opportunity, despite many advancements in becoming a more inclusive community. Social Capital typically refers to networks, connections, and access to people who produce information, resources, and opportunities. However, as indicated in our Task Force Report, we have expanded the traditional definition to include the concept of creating an authentic culture of caring in Mecklenburg County. In order to demonstrate such care, it is critical that access to funding and other resources be made available to grassroots organizations that work directly on early care and education, child and family stability, and college and career readiness in the most vulnerable communities.

Our first interview features council member Miriam Espaillat, Director of Community Engagement at Raydal Hospitality, owner of Sabor Latin Street Grill and Three Amigos Mexican Grill and Cantina.