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The Queen City of Charlotte, NC has witnessed great growth in the past 10 years. With a population that exceeds 800,000 and quickly approaching over 1,000,000 residents, it is destined to be on the top 10 list of most populated cities in the Unites States. As cities grow, they become more diverse. Just to put things into perspective White Americans make up 49% of the population in Charlotte. The other half is composed of Black/African American, Latinos, and what has come to be known as ‘Other’. There is no denying it, Charlotte is becoming a cultural melting pot. But what does that mean exactly and why is it a big deal? Clearly there are other cities that are extremely diverse and we wouldn’t be the first one. Here is why it matters.

History has shown us that as major U.S. cities grew and became more diverse, there were some bumps in the road. Most of these bumps in the road are due to what is known as ‘ISMS’. Racism, Sexism, Classism, Ableism, Heterosexism, Religious Imperialism, and the list goes on and on. As a community goes from being composed of likeminded individuals, to a booming city of people from all walks of life, there is a sense of fear that kicks in. But what is there to be afraid of? It’s simple. People are afraid of the UNKNOWN. If you grew up in a community with limited diversity, the simple thought that it is changing can create anxiety. If you are moving into a community that is in the midst of growth and historically has not been as diverse, that too can create anxiety. Both buckets have something in common.

So the question becomes how do we grow as a community with limited anxiety? It depends on who you ask. However, it really comes down to one thing. Embracing DIVERSITY and focusing on the things that make us SIMILAR. As a society we spend too much time focusing on the things that make us different. Doing so leads to stereotypes. Stereotypes lead to hate. And hate leads to the ‘ISMS’. If we are to grow into one of the largest cities in the U.S. and transition in a smooth fashion, we must focus on the things that make us alike. If you grew up in a diverse community I do not need to tell you this. I personally have been exposed to a plethora of different cultures in my life.

From experience I can tell you this much. Most people of all cultures and lifestyles share several things in common. The main one however, is LOVE. There is not one person on earth, including those that suffer from the disease of ‘ISMS’, that doesn’t LOVE something or someone. Another thing that most have in common is protecting those that they care about and taking care of each other. Within their bubble they are loving people. Their issue is that their bubble is small.

If Charlotte is going to smoothly transition into a major and diverse U.S. city, we must embrace one another and open up our mind. We must exude acceptance towards our differences and focus on our similarities. That means getting to know your neighbors, regardless of where they are from or their lifestyle. It means lending a helping hand to those in need, even if they do not appear to be just like you. It means educating our youth on the fact that we all bleed the same color. It also means never giving up on the fact that there is still enough LOVE in the world to outweigh the HATE that exists.

That is what Queen City Unity and I firmly believe in, and we will never give up our relentless pursuit to unify the great city of Charlotte. Several events transpired in 2016 that illustrated the current divide that exists in our city, and nation. That being said the majority believes in UNITY among all races, religions, gender, sexual orientation, gender identify, and socioeconomic status. It’s time for us to UNITE in DIVERSITY and be a perfect example to the rest of the nation of what that truly looks like.

Much peace and love to you all!

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