January 20, 2011

“I disagree with any effort to boycott the City of Charlotte.  Our community has some very tough and unresolved issues regarding public education.  Some of them involve the current budget crisis, and some involve longer-standing issues of academic achievement disparities.  These challenges are not unique to Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Our capacity to overcome these challenges is what makes our community unique. However, that can happen only when we are able to move past labels and engage each other in meaningful dialogue. I am confident that if we come together and focus on the issues, progress can and will be made.
I further disagree that Charlotte is a racist community, nor do I think our school board or superintendent are racists, as has been alleged in recent months. I agree it was regrettable the King holiday was used as a snow makeup day. At the same time, given the challenges so many of our young people face, I could not agree that students should not attend classes. It also is important to note that the school board next year will not use the King holiday as a makeup day. This is a promising step in the right direction. All of our students deserve the best possible education. At a time when Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools face the worst funding shortage in memory, it will take all of us, working as a community, to ensure we are able to deliver the best for our students.
By using labels such as racist to characterize our entire city, all of us are implicated, including me, and such a harsh, irrevocable verdict leaves us nowhere to go as a community. A better path is dialogue that can lead to solutions, such as tonight’s long-planned panel discussion on race relations at the Levine Museum of the New South.
We face serious issues as a community, challenges we are more than capable of meeting but not as a divided city.  With tongues too sharp or ears too closed, we can miss opportunities to build bridges and make progress.  As a community, now is not the time to turn on each other; it is a time to turn to each other and seek common ground.”

– Mayor Anthony Foxx