Water, sewer, police, trash service, street lights: These services are on the list of municipal provisions that are sometimes — or often — lacking for low-income and minority communities. In Western North Carolina, add to that list the challenges in retaining family land and proximity to a disproportionate share of hazardous facilities, plus lack of equal participation in local civic processes. These topics, as they apply to WNC neighborhoods, will be front-and-center at a June 14 Workshop for Excluded Communities being held in Spindale, with an aim to build grassroots connections to promote services and inclusion.
The day will cover such topics as “Problems and Effects of Exclusion in WNC,” “Organizing for Water, Sewer & Infrastructure: Stories of Success” and “Land & Community Preservation.” Sponsors include the Southern Moore Alliance of Excluded Communities, the Legal Aid Clients Council, UNC Center for Civil Rights, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
In publicity for the event, Legal Aid Clients Council member Pearl Nealey of Rutherford County is quoted: “If you have concerns about annexation, water or sewer, or dangerous sites in your community, this is the time to come voice your concerns. This workshop will increase awareness about what is happening in your community. And, it’s also a chance to begin thinking how we can work towards inclusion in the state and local democratic process.” Local activists, organizers, and community development experts are collaborating to conduct the training, with participants from various western counties and from organizations such as the Land Loss Prevention Project, the Cedar Grove Institute for Sustainable Communities, the Resourceful Communities Program, and the Conservation Trust for North Carolina.
The workshop is free, with lunch provided. It takes place at Isothermal Community College, 286 ICC Loop Road, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Click here for more information or to download a registration form, or call 980-8346 or 252-972-2100.
— Nelda Holder, associate editor