I don’t want to be here with my grandkids!

Last week at a service I attended for those lost in the attack in Charleston, the speaker asked, “Do you want to be here doing this same thing with your grandkids?” Those words hit me right in the gut.

I am about to get married and start a family. I pictured myself sitting there, in that pew, with my grandchild. I absolutely do not want to be sitting there with my grandkids reliving similar moments either. Neither do you.

The consequences of being in this same position will continue to create challenges that overflow beyond the domain of race relations and impact every corner of our society. It is destroying the fabric that connects our communities and fuels our economic engines.

This is unacceptable. For far to long, many have used economic opportunity as a weapon to suppress people perceived to be different then them. It is time for a new approach.

I believe that approach should focus on making transformative change to create economic mobility for all of our citizens. We must create inclusive opportunities for all people so they can live to do more than just survive. The Charlotte I live in must find it unacceptable to be ranked dead last out of large cities for economic mobility.

That ranking is our current reality. It’s a fact.

The culture that suppresses economic mobility poisons the hearts and minds of generations, kills innovation, and is making our community more segregated. The weight of continued failure will crush our ability to grow, innovate, and provide opportunities for the people of Charlotte.

I believe undoubtedly that a sustainable economic strategy must include diversity and equal opportunity for all its people or we will fail to reach our full potential. While others worry about what our cities tag-line should be, I want to focus on creating equal opportunity for everyone in this city to succeed.

While some of you were born here, others of us were re-born here. Together though, we are here now. Facing what we face. I’m not foolish enough to think we can change everything right now, but it is my generation’s time to lead, we are on the clock now, and we must take this opportunity to bridge the gap between the choices that got us here, and those that will lead us forward.

We have seen momentous change in our country in the past few weeks. Within a few short years, marriage equality is now the law of our land. It took leadership and courage to reach this goal. I believe we can make the same type of progress to ensure all of our citizens can participate and enjoy the ability to prosper in our community.

Join me. Let’s make it happen.

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