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Town of Carrboro staff recently attended the first session of North Carolina Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) Cohort in Charlotte. The racial equity assembly is the first to be held in the south -- Carrboro staff had an opportunity to learn about advancing racial equity by addressing institutional and structural racism. “There will be learning, re-learning, and un-learning,” said Director of the Office of Equity & Inclusion in Asheville, Kimberlee Archie, who spoke at the North Carolina meeting. Neighboring jurisdictions like Chapel Hill, Orange County, City of Durham, and Durham County were also in attendance.
This first session is the one of ten that team Carrboro will attend over the upcoming year. Each session is dedicated to advancing racial equity in government and has specific objectives. Teams developed and shared racial equity analysis, learned the role of government in relation to racial equity, established relationships, and increased skills by analyzing policies and practices from a racial equity perspective and communication about race. “The time spent at the first session was priceless!” Said Recreation and Parks Director and Racial Equity Officer for the GARE initiative, Anita Jones-McNair. “We had an opportunity to learn more about racism, met neighboring colleagues and brainstormed possibilities of making our jurisdictions more welcoming and inclusive.”
After the recent seminar, town staff hit the ground running by tackling their assignments. Carrboro staff established the team name Carrboro FREE - Facing Race, Embracing Equity, creating a vision statement and are preparing for the upcoming session that will be hosted at the Century Center here in Carrboro.
In October 2018 the Carrboro Board of Aldermen took a deliberate step toward achieving racial equity, by authorizing that town staff work with GARE. “Racial equity is an important priority for our Board,” said Mayor Lydia Lavelle. “In order to address systemic racism, programs like those offered by GARE help educate employees of local government about this history, and offer proactive ways to work to address the racism that still exists in our country. This nationwide problem starts at the local level.”
Carrboro is excited about this opportunity and is committed to advancing racial equity and transforming government.