The Chatham Economic Development Corporation (EDC) believes that Black Lives Matter. In our work to support entrepreneurs, assist local businesses and recruit new industries, we recognize the significant value that Black businesses, organizations, consumers and residents bring to Chatham County. We must do better to serve and include members of our Black community and all people of color. We will do better.
Moving forward, the Chatham EDC pledges to:
- Work to remove the barriers faced by people of color in starting a business, participating in policy-making decisions, and many other circumstances.
- Work harder to expand access to resources to under-served areas in Chatham County.
- Create programs and policies that address inequity in economic development.
- Incorporate diverse voices into our organization.
- Listen to communities of color and make changes accordingly.
The Chatham EDC supports the statement shared by community leaders who authored the following:
“A Chatham Community Response
These have been difficult days for many in our community, as we deal with the ongoing devastating effects of COVID-19 and the raw exposure of racism that continues to undermine our society. Let us make no mistake; the two tragedies are inextricably linked and the time has come to face the ugly truth of these salient “viruses” in America and their far-reaching effects.
We are just a little over two weeks since the nation witnessed the barbaric murder of George Floyd, five weeks since the video of Ahmaud Arbery’s killing went viral, three months since the death of Breonna Taylor, five and a half years since the slaying of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, six years since the killing of Eric Garner and over eight years since the slaughter of Trayvon Martin. Those are a handful of the many lives lost; Amadou Diallo, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Walter Scott…the list is infinite.
For many people of color, the pain of recent weeks has been deeply personal, but not new. We have felt this fear, this hopelessness and this heartbreak before. The question is, what will we do now that so many of our allies are feeling it too?
We believe that this nation is on the precipice of change and we remain committed to working at every level to ensure that the version of America that evolves from this chapter reflects the ideals of a just and equitable democracy.
We rededicate ourselves to examining every decision we make, every policy we implement and every practice we adhere to through an equity lens to identify impacts on marginalized communities and individuals. We call on our partners in state and local government and on every board, committee, non-profit and agency to do the same.
We join the voices of those who condemn the senseless, systemic killing of black and brown men, women and children, be it at the hands of those sworn to serve and protect or at the hands of fellow Americans who fail to see the value of their black and brown brothers and sisters.
Today, we stand united in rejecting casual acceptance of the disproportionate number of black and brown Americans infected and killed by COVID-19. And, we call out the practices and policies that have left many in this community in inadequate housing, living on substandard wages and without access to healthcare, thereby compounding the effects of the pandemic.
We are encouraged by the volume of the voices that are now coalescing around these twin tragedies and we call on all in positions of power and influence to do better.
Karen Howard, Chair, Chatham County Board of Commissioners
Senator Valerie Foushee, NC District 23, Chatham and Orange Counties
Del Turner (Delcenia Turner), Chatham County Board of Education
Representative Robert Reives, NC House of Representatives, District 54, Chatham and Durham Counties”