An intimate conversation quickly turned challenging during a recent gathering of A-LIST members and guests.
Brenda Tindal and Toussaint Romain kicked off the A-LIST’s Boardroom Business speaker series on February 9 at United Way by sharing powerful insights on Charlotte’s systemic challenges around poverty and race.
Tindal, historian at the Levine Museum of the New South, opened the conversation with a historical perspective on Charlotte’s African-American history. As one attendee put it, she “brought Charlotte’s history to life.”
With that as a reference point for the past as we know it, Romain flipped the script. He took everyone through history as if the roles had been reversed, with white families and children working as slaves and living through “Tim Crow laws.”
It was a jarring contrast that intentionally and successfully provoked empathy and anger from those in attendance.
“I saw our community through a different lens,” said Sherill Carrington, United Way’s A-LIST staff lead. “I consider myself in tune with our history, but the conversation really made me aware of how we all want the same dream for our children and our families. We have to come together as a community and demand better for all our neighbors, not just those who look like us.”
A-LIST (African-Americans Lead Influence Support Teach) is a United Way engagement group designed to do just that – bring people together, challenge their perspectives, and trigger action. Its members consist of Leadership donors ($1,000 and up) committed to being mobilizing agents on behalf of social change for all.