Participants gathered and the registered on the first floor, before being ushered to the event room. Upon entrance, they were greeted by several rows of round tables, each with a centerpiece. The centerpieces were constructed of cards that begged the question, “What will you do with the cards you’ve been dealt?” The central point of discussion, participants discussed the variety of ‘cards’ acquired by all individuals, whether by birth or by choice, and how these cards affect their lives and the lives of those around them.
Dianne English, the Executive Director of CBI, called the audience to action, asking them to, “See with new eyes, hear with new ears, and act in new ways.”
English has been actively involved in the organization of the event, which she hopes will express “the urgency” of equity within Charlotte, while also recognizing that “there are people who are making a change.”
One portion of the event was dedicated to testimonial speakers, who discussed the ways in which CBI has affected their lives, with one remarking, “It’s amazing how much influence a group of people can have.”
Another testimonial speaker spoke to CBI’s work and success in improving the city of Charlotte, as she said, “Embracing our diversity is what’s going to keep us on the map as a progressive city.”
Following English’s speech and the testimonials was Richard “Stick” Williams. Williams presented a comical but grasping speech, introducing Tom Ross, the Stakeholder Breakfast’s keynote speaker.
“How often do you get to introduce great people?” Williams asked, welcoming Ross to the stage.
Ross, the President of the University of North Carolina, spoke anecdotally of his past, saying, “I learned that justice matters and that injustice affects real people in real ways.”
Immediately after Ross’s speech, Reverend Claude Alexander spoke, incorporating the centralized theme of cards in his engaging speech.
“It’s not the hand that you’re dealt; it’s the game being played and the rules of the game,” he said.
Steve Larson was announced as CBI’s Board Chair for the upcoming year 2013, and, shortly after, the event was concluded. All participants left, thought-provoked and inspired, to continue their work for a better community.
The meal itself included an individual quiche, mixed fruit, granola, and a mini muffin, as well as plenty of fresh coffee.
Music was performed by the One Voice Choir.
Participants were tweeting the event, sending hash-tags, like #CBICards and #StakeholdersBreakfast, to CBI’s Twitter handle, @CommBldgInit. For more information about CBI, or to learn more about the Stakeholder’