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Mayor's Racial Equity Initiative announces next steps: 'We’re really excited'

By using $250 million in private and public funding, the priority is centered on four focus areas.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Months after the announcement of the Mayor's Racial Equity Initiative, plans are now moving forward to address the city's inequities and remove barriers to opportunities.

With the help of private and public funds, the city will invest $250 million to focus on four priority areas including the digital divide, corridors of opportunity, employer commitment, and Johnson C. Smith  University (JCSU), which will receive $80 million for scholarships and other opportunities.

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“We’re really excited about that because it’s going to give opportunities to students to get an excellent education and move up that social upward mobility ladder, JCSU President Clarence Armbrister said.

Charlotte is leading the way in this initiative that many other cities are eyeing for guidance. Mayor Vi Lyles said she takes pride in the process.

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“Today for me says this is all about the effort that we need to make to ensure that equity is the opportunity that makes us successful as a city," Mayor Lyles said.

Another priority is working to correct the digital divide. In the first year, the goal is to distribute 20,000 laptops, connect 10,000 thousand households with internet through the affordable connective plan, and provide 1,500 digital literacy sessions.

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“In a modern city you have to have robust internet connection, you have to have a computer that meets your needs and you have to have the skills to take advantage," Bruce Clark with the Center for Digital Equity said.

The plan is for the four focus areas to meet in May to review their individual plans and begin the process of the money allocation.

Contact Briana Harper at bharper@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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