By Cash Michaels
If there was any doubt about the Republican grip on the NC General Assembly and the future of the state, those doubts were certainly dashed this week with series of new laws.
Gov. Pat McCrory put his signature to a controversial tax reform package that aids the wealthy, but extends taxes for the poor.
A state budget passed that cuts funding for education by over $450 million, but reluctantly provides $10 million compensation for eugenics victims beginning in 2015.
Concealed gun owners can now carry their weapons into bars and restaurants, school grounds and college campuses, and greenways and parks.
But perhaps the most shocking measure of all, an omnibus “restructured” state election system that not only implements voter ID, but further limits African-American voter access the polls by shortening early voting by a week; eliminating same day registration, “Souls to the Polls” Sunday voting, 16 and 17-year-old pre-voter registration and straight-ticket voting, passed the state Senate on final reading Wednesday, and was given the green light to pass the NC House before the legislative session ends this week.
The measure also allows more unfettered campaign money from corporate and undisclosed sources, and shuts down any accountability for it.
Per voter ID, which goes into effect in 2016, only state or federally-issued official identifications will be allowed, meaning that college students can’t use their ID’s. Anyone who can’t afford an ID will be issued one free from the state, GOP lawmakers say.
Still, with over half of the state’s voters in the 2012 elections voting early, observers say the new GOP restrictions will cause long lines, similar to Florida last year. And because black voters, who are predominately Democrats, take advantage of early voting by large margins, the restrictions are seen as trying to dissuade blacks from even showing up at the polls.
Democrats, and progressive critics of the GOP-led legislature, are livid.
“These policies will be the most race-based, regressive and unconstitutional attacks on voting rights of the citizens of North Carolina that we have seen since the implementation of Jim Crow laws and the extremist so called "Redeemer Movement" in the 19th Century,” said NC NAACP President Rev. Dr. William Barber, who has been leading a three-month long “Moral Monday protest movement against the NC General Assembly. “Both were rooted in white supremacy to turn back the progress of Reconstruction. These extreme actions to undermine the fundamental promise and right to vote are a crime against democracy which will not stand.”
“We will fight and challenge this with every legal and moral tool at our disposal,” Rev. Barber vowed.
Critics blasted House Speaker Thom Tillis for backing the state Senate voting package after initially saying he had problems with it.
“Thom Tillis has shown his true colors in endorsing a bill that places some of the toughest restrictions in the nation on North Carolinians’ access to the ballot box,” said Ben Ray, a spokesman for the North Carolina Democratic Party. “These changes overwhelmingly impact minority, low income, and youth voters-- the very people who have been hurt the most by Tillis as he has ignored jobs and the economy to sell the agenda of North Carolina’s House to the highest-bidding special interests.”
“We knew all the time it was not voter ID, but voter suppression,” said Rep. Garland E. Pierce, chair of the NC Legislative Black Caucus prior to the final vote. “The real fraud is that they have tricked the voters of North Carolina to say that it is voter ID,” said Pierce.
Other members of the NCLBC said for the first time ever, they were embarrassed for North Carolina, knowing that the nation is focusing on how the once hailed progressive state, has turned 180 degrees towards a solid conservative path.
The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a Washington, DC-based civil rights organization founded fifty years ago by President John F. Kennedy, called North Carolina new voting restrictions, “…a laundry list of voter suppression tactics.”
“This is the single worst bill we have seen introduced since voter suppression bills began sweeping the country two years ago,” said Layers Committee President and Executive Director Barbara Arnwine. “With all of the stories and images depicting long lines around the country during the 2012 election, it is stunning that North Carolina has intentionally gone to such extremes to restrict access to voting.”
“Make no mistake,” Arwine continued, “these changes are aimed at voters who have historically faced the biggest challenges: African Americans, Hispanics, students, low-income voters and individuals with disabilities. Since 2000, North Carolina has had one of the most robust and accessible voting systems in the country. The introduction of this bill has the potential to reverse all of the electoral progress made by the state over the last 13 years.”
Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy NC, made it plain to reporters.
“This is political bullies rigging the election system for their own self-interest,” Hall said.
CASH IN THE APPLE 7-25-13
By Cash Michaels
OBAMA’S MOMENT – Kudos to our president for speaking truth to power last week in the aftermath of the tragic Trayvon Martin case.
What Pres. Obama said to America was quite simple, really – if Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old unarmed white child, shot to death after being accosted by a black George Zimmerman who DOES NOT identify him, but does shoot the boy dead, would YOU accept a jury acquittal?
Of course not. Not one of the president’s critics who called him “Racist-in-chief” after his sensitive remarks would accept such a verdict if it were their child.
So why should Tracey Martin and Sabrina Fulton, Trayvon’s parents?
Why should the African-American community, after Emmett Till, Rodney King, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo and others who were killed, and denied justice?
The president said as much when he told reporters that African-Americans felt the “pain” of the Trayvon Martin case because of our “history.”
It was indeed so amazing that a president who has been so cautious and careful not to speak about racial matters off the cuff since his remarks about the arrest of Prof. Henry Louis Gates – the black academic arrested in his own home by a police officer for just asking, “What the hell are you doing here?” – come into the White House briefing room, and school the press corps and the nation on exactly why African-Americans are feeling the way they do.
Mr. President, it was an historic moment we will never forget.
Thank you, from all of us.
IF YOU’RE BLACK, YOU CAN’T SEE JESUS – Last year we had preachers in our community telling folks not to vote to re-elect Pres. Obama because he dared to support gay marriage. Many of these preachers were bankrolled by right-wing groups.
Now, in the aftermath of the tragic Trayvon Martin case acquittal of George Zimmerman, the man who killed the 17-year-old black teen, we have more preachers talking yang to their congregations to try to calm the masses from demonstrating.
Dr. James David Manning, pastor of the ATLAH World Missionary Church in New York City, is telling folks that they need to stop viewing the world through their “black eyes”, and start viewing it through “the blood of Jesus.”
Translation – you can’t be black and an African-American at the same time. Somebody better tell Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks that.
It should be noted that Manning has disparaged Pres. Obama in the past, calling him a “half-negro” and “long-legged mack daddy,” and those are just the things I can write in a family newspaper.
The right-wing loves this guy.
And then there’s Pastor Ken Hutchinson, a former pro football player, who leads the Antioch Bible Church near Seattle, who wrote a piece recently titled, “Black Pastor Speaks Frankly to Blacks about Trayvon Martin .”
Get this quote from Pastor Hutchinson’s piece:
“I believe Dr. James Manning hit it on the head when he said that black people have a difficult time accepting truth simply because they are black. That's right, black people are involved and it is impossible for the average black person to believe the truth. They refuse to believe that a black boy could be in the wrong when it comes to a white Hispanic. Blackness is the apex of victimhood and our blackness is above truth, above our Christianity, above our God, above our Holy Spirit, so that means if our blackness is above the Holy Spirit, then it is above Truth. This is so important for everyone to know this so they can understand why this Trayvon and Zimmerman case is where it is today and why blacks refuse to believe what really happened.”
Pastor Hutchinson goes to say that Martin attacked Zimmerman first because he believed the man to be a rapist.
Funny, I could have sworn that Rachel Jantel testified that before she lost connection on the phone with Trayvon, she heard him say, “Why are you following me?” and then shortly after, “Let go,” indicating that the person who followed him then grabbed him first.
Either way, Hutchinson suggests that we, as black people, refuse to see Trayvon as being “wrong” in his confrontation with George Zimmerman because …well, because we’re black, and we can’t see things any other way.
Well pastor, I’m black (last time I looked anyway), so let’s try out your hypothesis, shall we?
Trayvon is walking back to his home from the store. It’s raining, dark and its 7 p.m. at night, so he has his hood up. Man sees Trayvon, and after being told by the police that they’re on their way and don’t do anything, the man, the neighborhood watch captain, follows Trayvon.
After Trayvon realizes that a strange man with a goatee in street clothes is following him, he gets concerned, which is reasonable to say the least.
Now (and this is where we’ll see just how “black” I am), does the neighborhood watch captain – a PERSON OF AUTHORITY – call out to the person he’s concerned about? After all, if that person is up to something, you want to stop him don’t you? What better way than to let him know you’re watching him?
But no, the neighborhood watch captain says nothing, which means (let’s continue to test my “blackness” now), the man never identifies himself.
Rachel Jantel can’t see anything, so all she knows is what she hears from Trayvon – “Why are you following me? Let go!”
The rest is history.
Pardon me if I’m wrong, but most neighborhood watch folks I know, in a situation like this, would say, “Excuse me, I’m Cash Michaels – neighborhood watch. Do you live in this complex?” Now if he gets attacked after that, then yes, Trayvon Martin is wrong.
But that never happened, so Trayvon has no idea who is following him, or why, which mean’s the 17 year-old now has the right to defend himself against a suspicious stalker.
Gee, I MUST be black…because what I just wrote makes butter biscuit sense to me? Why didn’t it make sense to the jury? Why didn’t the prosecution explain it that way?
Heck, why doesn’t it make sense to Pastor Hutchinson, and Dr. Manning, and that clown Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, and other conservative colored preachers?
Because they readily bought the defense line that because young Trayvon was a thug who had marijuana in his system and gold in his teeth, than made him an instant troublemaker.
And they further bought the convenient line that it was Trayvon who attacked first. Well of course, Pastor Hutchinson says, after all, the child had a small amount of marijuana in his system, which everyone knows makes you both hungry AND “paranoid!”
So of course this man had to defend himself against that young black thug, Hutchinson and the other preachers say. If you all weren’t so busy being black, thinking black and seeing black, and instead saw this case through Jesus, you’d understand that.
“It seems that being black allows us to not look at the truth even when it is screaming in our face because we just can't help ourselves. It is hard to believe that blacks can be guilty of wrongdoing in our society.”
It’s as if good old Jesse Helms wrote that line for Pastor Hutchinson, who apparently has found a way to stop being black, and start being…whatever.
Now I don’t know Hutchinson’s political affiliation, but somewhere he’s gotten into his head that you can’t be both black and Christian at the same time.
Hey pastor, that’s quite funny, considering that Jesus Christ, you know the head Christian…was BLACK! Dark skin, wooly hair, etc.
But what bothers me more than anything is that you would join the ranks of the Sean Hannity’s and Rush Limbaugh’s, and other conservative crackpots who have convicted that dead child as a villain, when there’s absolutely no evidence of such.
That’s the part that hurts. That several of our own so-called “men of God” would stoop so low to condemn a dead child, knowing good and well that’s exactly what the right-wing enemies of our community want.
This is sad and shocking. But we now know what more to expect.
That’s why having the president come out, and add his voice to those of his community and decent thinking people everywhere, was so very important.
For my money, I’d rather believe the truth, and my president, over some “I-hate-my people” preacher any day.
‘ENTER THE DRAGON” IS 40 – On July 20th, the world commemorated the fortieth anniversary of the death of one of the greatest movie martial artists in history, the legendary Bruce Lee.
On Friday, July 26th, the world will celebrate the fortieth anniversary of perhaps the best martial arts movie every made – “Enter the Dragon.”
I remember seeing the flick as a teenager in New York, and it has remained my favorite movie of all time.
The blu-ray is in the stores. Check it out.
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at www.myWAUG.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html). I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS 7-25-13
73 ARRESTED AT MORAL MONDAY PROTEST: PLANS TO TRAVEL STATE
[RALEIGH] After the state Legislature ends it’s session this week, what will happen to the Moral Monday demonstrations which drew tens of thousands to Jones Street to demonstrate against Republican policies? Organizers say those demonstrations will travel across the state between now and next year when the NC General Assembly reconvenes. Meanwhile, 73 protesters were arrested at the Legislative Building last number, bringing the total of Moral Monday protesters arrested since the demonstrations began to over 800. Last Monday the protests focused on GOP policies limiting voting rights.
FORMER REP. WOMBLE SUES ESTATE OF DEAD DRIVER
[WINSTON-SALEM] Former state Representative Larry Womble has filed suit against the estate of the deceased driver who caused a December 2011 traffic accident which seriously injured Womble.
The suit against the estate of David Allen Carmichael alleges that Carmichael consumed three times the legal limit of alcohol when he drove his vehicle over a center line, crashing into an oncoming car driven by Womble. Womble’s lawsuit also claims that the bar that served Carmichael gave him “too much alcohol,” thus contributing to the crash. Womble is seeking over $10,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. Womble was originally charged with causing the crash, but last November, the state Attorney General’s Office dismissed the charge after new evidence showed that Carmichael was, in fact, at fault.
STATE JOBLESS RATE REMAINS AT 8.8 PERCENT
[RALEIGH] After a loss in jobs in May, North Carolina gained 5,700 jobs in June to stay steady at an 8.8 percent unemployment rate last month, officials with the Labor and Economic Analysis Division of the state Commerce Dept say. Non-farm employment is over 4 million in the state, with the biggest gains in the professional and business services areas. Construction is also picking up across the state, adding 1,800 jobs. The state’s jobless rate is one tenth lower than what it was a year ago, officials say.
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS 7-25-13
TRAYVON MARTIN PANEL TONITE
A community discussion titled, “Survival 101: A Dialogue on the Impact of the Trayvon Martin case on Black Youth,” is scheduled for this evening at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 East Martin Street in Raleigh from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Elected officials, community leaders, educators, clergy, judges and young people will come together to discuss how the Trayvon Martin case affect the community’s youth. Sponsored by CCCAAC, Inc. and Martin Street Baptist Church. Call Calla Wright at 919-413-7397 or Marjorie Fields Harris at 919-386-9634 for more information.
TEDESCO NOT RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION
District 2 Wake School Board member John Tedesco announced last week that he will not seek a second term. Tedesco, a Tea Party Republican who was swept into office in 2009 as part of a GOP majority, cited the need to tend to family concerns. Always controversial, Tedesco, who is white, advocated for neighborhood schools, dismissing charges of wanting to resegregate the schools. He once wrote that he knew more about educating black children than black leaders because he’s had many “black girlfriends.” He mounted a failed run for state superintendent last year traveling the state giving speeches at Tea Party rallies.
WAKE SCHOOL SYSTEM MY LOSE OVER $5 MILLION IN NEW STATE BUDGET
With well over $400 million in cuts to education in the new state budget, officials with the Wake County School System say they will lose approximately $5.5 million from their state allotment. Officials say the cut will impact all areas of operations, forcing the school board to shift funds in order to address the greatest needs. The system will be able to make up some of the loss with discretionary funding that it no longer has to return to the state, as in years past.
On Tuesday, July 16, President Obama met with members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated in the Oval Office to commemorate the organization’s centennial anniversary and their 51st convention in Washington, DC. The President met with the organization to congratulating them on their 100 year anniversary. He acknowledged their long history of community service, mentorship, and advocacy work in communities across the country. [White House photo]
PRES. OBAMA'S HISTORIC JULY 19, 2013 REMARKS ON TRAYVON MARTIN VERDICT
THE PRESIDENT: I wanted to come out here, first of all, to tell you that Jay is prepared for all your questions and is very much looking forward to the session. The second thing is I want to let you know that over the next couple of weeks, there’s going to obviously be a whole range of issues -- immigration, economics, et cetera -- we'll try to arrange a fuller press conference to address your questions.
The reason I actually wanted to come out today is not to take questions, but to speak to an issue that obviously has gotten a lot of attention over the course of the last week -- the issue of the Trayvon Martin ruling. I gave a preliminary statement right after the ruling on Sunday. But watching the debate over the course of the last week, I thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts a little bit.
First of all, I want to make sure that, once again, I send my thoughts and prayers, as well as Michelle’s, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation. I can only imagine what they’re going through, and it’s remarkable how they’ve handled it.
The second thing I want to say is to reiterate what I said on Sunday, which is there’s going to be a lot of arguments about the legal issues in the case -- I'll let all the legal analysts and talking heads address those issues. The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries were properly instructed that in a case such as this reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury has spoken, that's how our system works. But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling.
You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.
There are very few African American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me -- at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.
And I don't want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear. The African American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws -- everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.
Now, this isn't to say that the African American community is naïve about the fact that African American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system; that they’re disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. It’s not to make excuses for that fact -- although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context. They understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history.
And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African American boys are more violent -- using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.
I think the African American community is also not naïve in understanding that, statistically, somebody like Trayvon Martin was statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else. So folks understand the challenges that exist for African American boys. But they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it and that context is being denied. And that all contributes I think to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.
Now, the question for me at least, and I think for a lot of folks, is where do we take this? How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction? I think it’s understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through, as long as it remains nonviolent. If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family. But beyond protests or vigils, the question is, are there some concrete things that we might be able to do.
I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it’s important for people to have some clear expectations here. Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government, the criminal code. And law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.
That doesn’t mean, though, that as a nation we can’t do some things that I think would be productive. So let me just give a couple of specifics that I’m still bouncing around with my staff, so we’re not rolling out some five-point plan, but some areas where I think all of us could potentially focus.
Number one, precisely because law enforcement is often determined at the state and local level, I think it would be productive for the Justice Department, governors, mayors to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists.
When I was in Illinois, I passed racial profiling legislation, and it actually did just two simple things. One, it collected data on traffic stops and the race of the person who was stopped. But the other thing was it resourced us training police departments across the state on how to think about potential racial bias and ways to further professionalize what they were doing.
And initially, the police departments across the state were resistant, but actually they came to recognize that if it was done in a fair, straightforward way that it would allow them to do their jobs better and communities would have more confidence in them and, in turn, be more helpful in applying the law. And obviously, law enforcement has got a very tough job.
So that’s one area where I think there are a lot of resources and best practices that could be brought to bear if state and local governments are receptive. And I think a lot of them would be. And let's figure out are there ways for us to push out that kind of training.
Along the same lines, I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it -- if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations.
I know that there's been commentary about the fact that the "stand your ground" laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case. On the other hand, if we're sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there's a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we'd like to see?
And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these "stand your ground" laws, I'd just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened? And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.
Number three -- and this is a long-term project -- we need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African American boys. And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?
I'm not naïve about the prospects of some grand, new federal program. I'm not sure that that’s what we're talking about here. But I do recognize that as President, I've got some convening power, and there are a lot of good programs that are being done across the country on this front. And for us to be able to gather together business leaders and local elected officials and clergy and celebrities and athletes, and figure out how are we doing a better job helping young African American men feel that they're a full part of this society and that they've got pathways and avenues to succeed -- I think that would be a pretty good outcome from what was obviously a tragic situation. And we're going to spend some time working on that and thinking about that.
And then, finally, I think it's going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching. There has been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven't seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have. On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there's the possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can? Am I judging people as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin, but the content of their character? That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy.
And let me just leave you with a final thought that, as difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don’t want us to lose sight that things are getting better. Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. It doesn’t mean we’re in a post-racial society. It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated. But when I talk to Malia and Sasha, and I listen to their friends and I seem them interact, they’re better than we are -- they’re better than we were -- on these issues. And that’s true in every community that I’ve visited all across the country.
And so we have to be vigilant and we have to work on these issues. And those of us in authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels of our nature, as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions. But we should also have confidence that kids these days, I think, have more sense than we did back then, and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did; and that along this long, difficult journey, we’re becoming a more perfect union -- not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.
Thank you, guys.
RBTC Pacesetter Program Making a Difference for
Small and Minority Business Start-ups
by miriam s. perry
special to the carolinian (for op-ed)
Raleigh, NC—Recent discussions have focused on the whether the Raleigh Business and Technology Center (RBTC) remains a good investment of city funds. Lost in the discussion, however, is the amazing success of more than 100 small businesses served by the RBTC. Called the “Pacesetters,” 106 of the 129 businesses that have entered the program remain in business today, with gross receipts of over $33 million dollars and hundreds of new jobs.
That is quite a return for the City of Raleigh, which invested $561,000 in the program designed to spark small and minority business development in the city. While there have been other funders, the main growth has been from the development of the businesses themselves.
Responding to a need identified by former Mayor Clarence Lightner, a team formed to consider how best to stimulate business growth in Southeast Raleigh. The team, consisting of the Business Building Society, an organization composed of small businesses in Southeast Raleigh, a team of local businesspersons headed by Mayor Avery Upchurch and Dr. E. Walton Jones, a Professor at NC State University, visited a model incubator in Charleston, SC. By 2000, collaboration was formed between the City of Raleigh, Wake County and Shaw and Saint Augustine’s Universities and 23 businesses. The benefits were almost immediate and direct.
Feedback from Pacesetter graduates speaks to the program’s success. Gloria L. Howard, owner of 3-D Cleaning Solutions, LLC is a 2012 RBTC Pacesetter and states, “I am grateful to the city for sponsoring this 20-week course free of charge. As a relatively new business, it has taught me such things as how to obtain funding, how to complete cash flow records, how to utilize various marketing strategies and how to advertise. I didn’t have a business plan and didn’t see the importance of one. This course not only taught me how to write that plan but also how to price and market my services”.
A 2005 Pacesetter, Jeffrey McCullough, CEO of Mile High Company of North Carolina, LLC, said, “After completing the program in 2005, our company gained valuable resources to compete in the marketplace. The Pacesetter Program helped our business stay viable. It is a much needed program.”Ida Morton, owner of GI Jane Business Development, is not only a Pacesetter, but also a tenant in the RBTC. Morton says that, the RBTC did not just provide her with valuable instruction, but also invaluable networking occurred with other entrepreneurs. “The RBTC has provided a place where I can have affordable rent, get quality business training, and meet others who are similarly motivated. I don’t know what I would have done without their help.”
The RBTC and its Pacesetter program still provide an essential place for small and minority businesses to develop in a nurturing environment. The result has been an expansion of local businesses and the creation of much needed jobs for people who live here.