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Racial Equity Dashboard


For the last few weeks we’ve published some stark data exposing the structural racism in our system to support the actions of nonprofits, advocates, and policy makers in the Cape Fear Region. In August, New Hanover County acted when they hired Linda Thompson as its first chief diversity and equity officer.
 
Thompson – formerly the public affairs officer and diversity and inclusion officer for the Wilmington Police Department – sat down with us after a week and a half on the job for one of her first on the record interviews. 

Thompson said people are ready to tackle diversity and equity issues.
 
“They are no longer waiting for people to yield so it can happen,” Thompson said. “People are running over them. And so, if the government wants to do it or not, people are ready to make the move. People are ready to be inclusive. Diverse. Equitable. And so, I think it speaks volumes New Hanover County has taken a step in the right direction to be a leader in this area and do this. I think they hear the voices of the people and they are realizing the time is now, and it is time to move forward."
 
The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners established the Office of Diversity and Equity to carry out its expectation of equity in the county’s actions and policies. Thompson’s mission is to reinforce how New Hanover County supports diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect.
 
“I am confident she will be able to build valuable relationships and help bring about much-needed change to help ensure access, equity and inclusion for every single person in New Hanover County,” County Manager Chris Coudriet said in a statement.
 
Thompson is building something from scratch, but acknowledged equity and diversity issues won't be solved easily or quickly.
 
“We’ve been going through this for hundreds of years,” she said. “But I believe this is a step in the right direction. I believe this Office of Diversity and Equity says that our county realizes it has not always been diverse and we want to get it right.”
 
Listen to the rest of the story here.
Linda Thompson (Photo courtesy of NHC)
We launched the Racial Equity Dashboard in August. It is step one as we work toward a future of equity and opportunity in our region. For it to reflect our community and be a collaborative effort, we need your insights. After you explore the dashboard, tells us what you think at data@capefearcollective.org.
Click Here to Explore the Dashboard
From the beginning, the Cape Fear Collective was dedicated to pairing the lived experience with data. The Collective Voice podcast was one of the first ways we tried to amplify voices in the region and capture the stories and issues from across a broad spectrum of our community. Some of the highlights include a look at Wilmington’s Confederate monuments through the eyes of three residents. We spent weeks with Maddie, an African-American woman living with her family in New Hanover County, to learn how she overcomes obstacles from economics to systemic racism and inequity and we rode the WAVE transit bus to better understand some of the transportation issues facing our communities.
 
We believe the lived experience is the best way to flesh out the structural racism that plagues our nation in a relatable way. Understanding comes from walking in someone else’s shoes.

The economic impact of COVID-19 will be felt for years to come, but according to the results of our regionaCape Fear Talent survey, employers are still hiring. Over 55% of employers surveyed since mid-March indicated their businesses would grow over the next three years.

"So, amid the pandemic and this jobs downturn, businesses are still expressing optimism about hiring,” Michael Hogan, economic development analyst with RTI International said Tuesday during the survey’s unveiling. “But it's lower than peer regions in previous years. So, what we are optimistic about and what the data shows us is that companies are still planning for growth and they are expecting to hire between 9,600 and 17,500 new employees in the next three years."

Click here to catch up on what almost 500 regional employers told us about skills, training, and education needed for future job openings.

Download the Report
Photo by Mallory Cash.
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