Community Blog

DCABPI has launched a Blog series in an effort to enlighten viewers / readers about people and local leaders who are making a difference, as well as positive contributions right here in Durham.

For this series, our DCABPI Interns conduct interviews for our DCABPI - Blog page.  Each interview explores the perspectives shared by individuals from different professional backgrounds (eg, politics, healthcare, housing, education, business) to include DCABPI cohorts, Community Activists, and other local residents.

Interview questions and answers address the following issues:

  • Where / how do you see Racial Inequity exhibited in your everyday lives or career path?  

  • What changes could be made in Durham communities to achieve Racial Equity?

Posted on November 29, 2021

Today, Desiree Wiggins (NCCU Class of 22) discusses the career path of Dr. Kenneth Brown, Chiropractic Physician and founder/owner of Back to Health Chiropractic Medical Center in Durham, NC..

Desiree’: Where did you see racial inequality exhibited in your everyday life and your career path?

Dr. Brown: I’ll start with my career path first. There was a lack of representation of African American physicians in my doctoral program and the leadership in the profession’s national organization. We represent 14 percent of the total population but there were no black doctors at my chiropractic school and very few at others if any. Personally, I saw it every day even with respect to the middle school that I attended. I went from an all-black elementary school to a more diverse middle school where I encountered my first Caucasian instructor. I witnessed them give favor to the white students as oppose to giving us the same breaks. If you weren’t a smart kid, they looked to label you with something such as ADHA. Since I was one of the smarter kids there this was not an issue for me.

Desiree’: How do you see racial inequality exhibited in your everyday life?

Dr. Brown: Even now at my age, I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of the police but I am aware of them. I also understand that part of the issue I have with them is a systemization of mental control. For example, some Caucasians think that the police are here to protect and serve you, however some African Americas believe that we are being hunted. When you look at it historically, typically we don’t get the benefit of the doubt. Even going to different places such as my medical doctor’s office, an African American person will call me Mr. Brown or Dr. Brown, whereas Caucasians will tend to call me by my first name even if they are significantly younger. I have an issue with that because it shows a lack of respect. Those are the obvious things that I see on a daily basis. Racism gets more into socialism when we look at other ethnicities and orientations as they tend to piggy back on the progress that we’ve made in America. Some people are still waiting on reparations, and unfortunately certain people will get it way before we do. They have not been in our circumstance for 450 plus years.

Desiree’: What changes can be made in Durham as a community to achieve racial equality?

Dr. Brown: One is the gentrification of black communities.  This is a planned thing, and not by happen stance. It allows for certain crimes to increase in certain areas. We should insist and require the police to do their jobs to protect all areas as well as make more grant money available for people of color in those lower income areas as oppose to waiting until that neighborhood gets gentrified. Fifty percent of those areas are now white and able to tap in city, state and government funds to get their houses redone, fixed and renovated but they don’t make that information public. I am even dealing with that issue right now with my home. The house is 50 years old but Duke Energy had initially installed a faulty external junction box. No one ever told us that we were able to get them to come back and fix it. My Electrician mentioned that it would cost $12,000 to just change out that electrical box. There is a program that would require Duke to fix it because it is located in an Historically Black neighborhood. This information was never mentioned to us. So lastly, more accessible information is an important change that can be made in Durham.  

Posted on September 24, 2021

Today, Caitlin Leggett (NCWC Class of 22 and Student Intern at National Public Radio) discusses the career path of Attorney Michele Okoh, Senior Lecturing Fellow, Environmental Law and Policy Clinic at Duke University School of Law.

Caitlin: Do you mind introducing yourself and what you do?

Atty. Okoh: I'm currently a Senior Lecturing Fellow of Law with Duke Law School.  I specifically work for the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic which is a unique area in the law school.  The important thing to understand about clinical education is that it is focused on giving students practical experience.  All of our students work on real cases.  The clinic is designed to focus on environmental law cases allowing students to work with real clients, All of our students work in teams.  We teach students who are law students, as well as students who are from the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment.  That's where I focus my work.  I supervise the students in that work, and help them to really develop as burgeoning attorneys.  I also work with students in our Nicholas School who serve as student consultants for our clients.  

My work in general focuses on environmental justice which is where I am primarily concerned.  We understand that people impact the environment, and our environment impacts us as well.  What we also understand is that not everyone is impacted by the environment to the same extent.  So when it comes to environmental justice issues, it's about achieving equity, along with addressing issues in relation to environmental injustice, where not everyone has the same opportunities, nor does everyone have the same access to environmental benefits and burdens. That's especially true with our Black, Indigenous, People of Color (aka, BIPOC) communities. So that's where my work essentially focuses primarily. 

Posted on August 23, 2021

Today, Caitlin Leggett (NCWC Class of 22 & intern at National Public Radio) discusses the career path of

Dr. LaVerne Reid, Interim Dean, College of Health and Sciences at North Carolina Central University.

Caitlin: Do you mind introducing yourself and what you do?

Dr. Reid: I currently serve as the interim Dean of the College of Health and Sciences at North Carolina Central University. This particular College is relatively new. We've been in existence for exactly one year. The College was established in an effort to align the Analytical Sciences with the Health Sciences. There are 10 departments, including Basic Science departments, Biological and Biomedical Science, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Earth Environment, Geospatial Science, Math and Physics. We have five distinct Health Sciences, including Nursing, Kinesiology (Sports Medicine) and Recreation Administration, Communication Sciences and Disorders, along with Human Sciences with concentrations such as Nutrition and Dietetics. Disciplines represented by these departments are the fastest growing professions in the country.

I received an undergraduate degree from NC Central in Health Education and Biology. I received the MPH degree from UNC School of Public Health and the PhD from the Heller School at Brandeis University. I have been a public health practitioner for over 40 years in a variety of settings including three hospitals, 2 state health departments and two county or city health departments.  At NC Central, I am a Professor in the Department of Public Health Education and I have held a number of positions with increasing levels of responsibility. This is my second appointment as a Dean. I previously served as an Associate Dean twice for different colleges, in addition to having served as Chair for two different departments.

Posted on June 9, 2021

Today, Taylor Rosbrook (NCCU Class of 21) discusses the career path of Dr. Rochelle  Newton, EdD, Assistant Divisional  Chief Operating  Officer at Duke Health Technology Solutions.

Taylor: If you could give a little background about yourself and what you do in the community. How have you seen Racial Inequity exhibited in your everyday life and/or career path?   And, what changes could be made in Durham communities to achieve Racial Equity?

Dr. Newton: I am an IT professional, and I have worked in IT for 44 years. In Information technology, systemic and institutional racism is everywhere. There is no part it is not. In the commercial marketplace like, facial recognition, two-factor identification, there is so many places where this exist. This is in large part because the people who design these systems and develop these systems are normally white and male. Black and brown people, rarely, 

are at the forefront of current or emerging technology. If you have a smartphone, if you have social media, you

are using the resources that others developed, at your peril no less. If you use social media, they capture everything you post, every word you type, and they make some kind of judgement. This is partly how the corruption happened in the 2016 election.

 

There are always examples of how the system is always turning inward on those who need the system the most. In IT, black and brown people are first hired, first fired. So, as soon as you come in, you go right back out -- a revolving door. And they are not paid equitably. They are not put  in places where they can have leadership, or have a voice, or even a seat at the table. So, there are a lot of examples where racial inequity shows up in various ways in my field. It shows up in various ways in all fields, and it's not unique to IT. What is happening in IT is happening in ever field.  In the area where I work specifically, you look down the hall and everybody that you are looking down the hall at is usually white and male. So how do we change this?

Posted on April 29, 2021

Today, Taylor Rosbrook (NCCU Class of 21) discusses the career path of Dr. Zaphon R. Wilson, Chair & Associate Professor at North Carolina Central University - Public Administration Department. 

Taylor: If you could give a little background about yourself and what you do in the community. How have you seen Racial Inequity exhibited in your everyday life and/or career path?   And, what changes could be made in Durham communities to achieve Racial Equity?

 

Dr. Wilson: Yes, I am from Wilkes County (NC), moved here from Savannah, Georgia where I was a department chair at Savannah State University and Georgia Southern at Armstrong. I’ve been in higher education for about 35 years.

I started at Appalachian State University, spent some time at Hampton University, and at St. Augustine University for about 5 years. I’ve been here at North Carolina Central University, now going on my fourth year. So, I’ve been around the block a few times. A lot of the work I've done has been in Community Service and working on a planning board.

I have also held offices with several professional organizations.

I have an interest in public administration and public policy because when I was a kid, urban renewal went through our community and my grandmother worked really hard to keep her home. She was able to keep her home and move into another section of the community. That was my first interaction with housing policy, housing inequities, and just a general kind of dynamic that took place in small communities when it came to providing affordable housing. One of my first jobs was with a planning firm in Elizabeth City, NC where we did Community Development and Planning. I’ve been involved in housing for a very long time along with this whole idea of Community Engagement and Involvement.

Posted on March 30, 2021

"Often times, policies within our system can create devastating racial disparities in our community. It is DCABP Inc's mission to bring to the forefront issues related to these disparities that go unvoiced and ignored. We can see these disparities within housing, voting, civic participation, education, etc. As a long-time community member and student of Durham, NC, I believe Durham could benefit tremendously from the efforts of an organization like DCABPI and the conversations they bring to the table of racial equality within the community."

Taylor C. Rosbrook

Senior Political Science Student

North Carolina Central University

Posted on March 26, 2021

"The way that DCABP Inc. strives for racial equality is by attending meetings with the community and speaking up on the concerns of the communities. Making their voices be heard."

Imani Sanford

Senior, Political Science Student

North Carolina Central University

Posted on March 5, 2021

"The 2020 elections proved the extraordinary power of the African American vote in electing candidates that are committed to equity and fairness in our governmental policies.  We are already seeing efforts in many states to suppress the right of African Americans to vote in future elections to enhance the election of candidates that lack a commitment to equality and justice.  The African American community must remain a leading voice in advancing human rights at home and abroad, especially in ensuring that each citizen has a voice in promoting democratic principles and outcomes for all Americans." 

Dr. Allan Cooper

Professor of Political Science

North Central Central University

TESTIMONIALS

Browse below through real testimonials from others who have been engaged with

DCABPI Courageous Conversation forums, aka, Unifying Community Voices (UCV) .

"I look forward to driving deeper

into the topic matter."

"Thanks this is good.. We need to have this conversation to move forward as one, united. I love it."

Man Writing

"Great event!! Especially loved that the session attendees were multi-generational and fully engaged. Kudos to DCABP Inc. and Courageous Conversation Global Foundation for making it happen. Keep it coming ya'll!"

"Great Experience!"

"I thoroughly enjoyed this session."

"I sincerely enjoyed all of the robust conversations and varying perspectives. Also, Andrea was an
awesome facilitator and did a wonderful job setting the container for the space."

 Check our "EVENTS" page for upcoming community activities!