Report Details Decades Of Systemic Racism In Mecklenburg County

CHARLOTTE, NC – The Mecklenburg county commission is taking steps to right decades of wrongs detailed in a new report on systemic racism.

Last June, the commissioners approved $2 million dollars in the budget for equity investments. It’s a move that some commissioners say is just the beginning.

“We must be the change we want to see,” said Rev. Janet Garner Mullins.

She was speaking about the findings in a new report from the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room with The Mecklenburg County Library. The authors say the report outlines more than 140 years of policy and decisions that restricted the representation, influence and growth of the Black community.

“To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality,” said Rev. Garner Mullins.

According to the report, everything from voting rights, education, housing, and access to resources were limited or suppressed. Some of those actions continue today.

“Many years ago, I lived in historic Brooklyn. The entire community was torn down, razored, bulldozed for what was called urban renewal. Which uprooted the lives of black people, black businesses ,and black churches,” said Garner-Mullins.

Rev. Garner-Mullins talked about her experience going to Good Samaritan Hospital, one of the first black hospitals in the country. It used to sit where Bank of America Stadium is now.

“You know people hear about racism and systemic racism and everything that is happening out there, but they don’t know what is happening right here in their own county and it just put it on paper and it’s real. We have to face it,” said County Commissioner Laura Meier.

Meier pushed for the study to be done.

“It’s going to remind people that this is real. It happened. It’s happening. And it happened right under government’s eyes so to speak,” said Meier.

She says the two million dollars currently budgeted may go towards home ownership deposits.

“Owning property creates generational wealth. That’s just one step. That’s just one bucket,” explained Meier.

She’d like to see additional funding for education, business improvement, and voter protections become a line item on the county budget each year.

“I think it’s just going to steamroll into bigger things. People who never really thought about this are going to start thinking about it,” said Meier.