From Our CEO: Activating the Promise of Southeast Raleigh – Moments of Connection
I am happy to share that I am settling into my new role as CEO of Southeast Raleigh Promise. My first 90 days have been filled with a warm and enthusiastic reception and opportunities for many thoughtful conversations about the future of Southeast Raleigh.
The future is promising, and Southeast Raleigh residents are resilient and remain committed to their community — insisting that a place at the table be made for us. I am grateful to be serving in this role and at a time when many people want to increase their engagement and connect in new ways.
Over the past three months, I have enjoyed getting to know the committed individuals and volunteers who make up the SERP team. They have worked tirelessly to advance our mission and lead our organization through a time of transition. I am grateful to stand alongside them and the residents, community partners, and funders who support the mission of Southeast Raleigh Promise; they are investing their time, talent, and resources to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and build ladders of opportunity for success.
I am encouraged by the hopeful conversations I’ve had with residents, community leaders, and advocates who care immensely about Southeast Raleigh. In our conversations, we talked about critical issues facing our community, including the immediate need to address housing security, success in education for our youth, and access to economic opportunities. We also talked about equity and how we must be willing to embrace new solutions if we want to achieve different outcomes.
A highlight of recent months came when I visited the Beacon Site, the hub of our Purpose Built Communities™ initiative, located along Rock Quarry Road. It is there that we collaborate with the Southeast Raleigh YMCA, Wake County Public School System, Telemon, DHIC, and Self Help to achieve meaningful results and improve outcomes for children and families.
During multiple visits to the Beacon Site, I had the opportunity to support small businesses at the Black Farmers Market, attend food distribution events, visit our community garden, interact with high school student volunteers and interns from local universities. I even met a few precocious 2nd graders from Southeast Raleigh Elementary School whose faces beamed with curiosity and promise. I also had the pleasure of greeting Beacon Ridge residents as they walked from their apartment homes to attend an event promoting financial wellness, and I struck up a conversation with a group of Black men who were studying to be general contractors. They talked about their hopes for their families and the dream of one day opening their own businesses.
Each of these moments of connection bolstered my hope about the promise of Southeast Raleigh and crystalized my vision of a community that is fully activated and filled with opportunities, hope, and promise for ALL.
For my role, I approach this work not only as CEO, but also as a long-time resident of Southeast Raleigh. I am a neighbor, a volunteer, and a stakeholder in this community. I am invested in ways that make this work extremely personal and fulfilling for me.
In the months ahead, we look forward to developing strategic partnerships and holding community conversations to address issues of housing, education, health and financial wellness, and leadership development while working to address the root causes of racial inequities that are so prevalent in our community. This work, though challenging, will take all of us. It will also take courageous conversations, innovative thinking, and a significant investment of human capital and financial resources.
It is you; it is us; it is we that make Southeast Raleigh a unique and culturally significant place to call home, raise our families, educate our children, build businesses, and practice our faith. We invite you to join us as we endeavor to continue our work, shape our future, and activate the promise of Southeast Raleigh together.