Image courtesy of Crossroads Charlotte
I was recently fortunate enough to visit Charlotte, North Carolina to catch up with some of the great work being done by organizations and individuals on a local level in the Queen City.
Charlotte is visibly ascendent and diverse, and has long been supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as aresident city. Susan Paterson, Program Director of the Knight community in Charlotte, was gracious enough to introduce me to a number of visionary people and projects in the area, and so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to shed some light on their work and express my appreciation for their hospitality!
The first organization I encountered was Crossroads Charlotte, a quite ingenious project run by Tracy Russ that operates under the motto of ‘Imagine tomorrow. Act Today’. Originally conceived in 2001 as a project to act upon data that found that Charlotteranked bottom last in a study on interracial trust, the organization has since grown to advocate that the best way to break down these boundaries is by emphasizing the one vested interest all Charlotte resident share in common, the future of Charlotte itself.
Incorporating futurist scenario planning, and an emphasis on community action today, Crossroads Charlotte and their community developed four potential ‘scenarios’ for how Charlotte could look in the year 2015, and ways that the public can act today to move toward the best possible outcome for everybody.
Crossroads also runs an innovative campaign to document the good news in the community by engaging experienced local journalists to document local events for their community bulletins , many of which have now been entered into LikeMinded so that others around the country can learn from the ideas.
Continuing in the realm of community journalism, Tracy also introduced me to Desiree Kane, Justin Ruckman and Crystal Dempsey who, amongst many other things, run CLT Blog, an impeccably well designed and lovingly maintained local news source with contributors spanning local politicians, musicians and residents with a story to share.
Emboldened by the announcement that the Democratic National Convention will be coming to Charlotte in 2012, Desiree and Justin are also spearheading an effort known as The PPL to provide a pop up co-working space to house public and independent media creators for the people’s convention. It is an awesome idea.
So what next? We are working hard to try and get as any stories of local change from Charlotte into LikeMinded as possible, and could use your help both sharing these stories with your network and perhaps reaching back out to the people running these projects to offer your support and encouragement!
I look forward to visiting Charlotte again, and want to publicly thank all the people who made the trip so warm and inspiring.