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Patrick Graham wants to reshape the conversations surrounding the debilitating policies impacting people he calls at-opportunity rather than at-risk. Graham says much of the focus has been on the immorality of how people are being impacted. Instead Graham said we should focus on our the united self-interests of competitiveness,  economic impact and stable families.


On August 28, Graham, President of the Urban League of the Central Carolinas, and about 50 volunteers and members of various organizations will unveil their Opportunity Day agenda. The event will be 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at The Park Church. It will include a dedication to Julius Chambers. It’s not small coincidence that the event is scheduled on the same day as the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.


Graham says people often forget the March on Washington was a march to address jobs and freedom. Opportunity Day is a chance to set a new Civil Rights agenda for family and youth in the Charlotte region around Education, Economics, Health, Social Justice and Civic Engagement.


“The March On Washington is a symbolic, galvanizing event, but it’s not sustainable without people focusing on their local issues,” she said. “(Opportunity Day) is a way to keep consistent dialogue with public and government as opposed to waiting for budget times.”


Graham said a team of volunteers has  worked on the agenda for more than a month. They have devised a two-year plan to tackle some of the most pressing issues addressing the region. Graham said success will require input from government and private-sector leaders.


Our main focus is to show through statistics, the actual economic impact of these issues, Graham said. In order to be competitive, the state, federal and local government will have to invest in the economy and education, which is underfunded in K-12, Graham said.

If the Opportunity Day agenda is implemented it will create a blueprint for communities to be proactive about the current challenges facing people who are at-opportunity and to hopefully create a dialogue to address future challenges.

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