“Dreams Never Die.” – Rev. Troy F. Harrison
This year, we have faced struggle. We have battled large institutions that weaponized their apathy and cruelty in our direction. We’ve persisted through a global pandemic that has ravished Black and Brown communities across this nation. Throughout, I have witnessed what the late Reverend Troy F. Harrison shared in his 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Day address: “It is in the midst of struggle that dreams become a reality.”
In February, we launched From the Rock Wall, turning the dream of a community-held history commons into a reality. In April, we challenged Orange County’s inequitable tax assessments of Northside properties, winning $1,355 average annual savings for long-term residents. In October, Orange County’s approval of an unprecedented property tax assistance fund turned the dream of countywide tax assistance for long-term low- and moderate-income residents into a reality. Throughout the year, the Northside Neighborhood Initiative made seven families’ and two elders’ dreams of owning or renting safe and affordable housing a reality. Dreams never die.
We rose above the odds and ensured that hundreds of our elders received the COVID-19 vaccine, many of them doing so in their own neighborhood. We educated over 1,000 students on local civil rights and Black History. We invited three hundred students into the practice of caring for their neighbors as they became the boots-on-the-ground force that drove our grocery box and community newsletter distributions. Partners from the Inter-Faith Council and Southern Vision Alliance worked with us to revive the Chapel Hill Freedom School, where 25 high school youth learned local Black history and trained in how to liberate their communities from the oppressive systems of today. Dreams never die.
Your gift this holiday season fuels an unstoppable movement that is standing on generations of dreams. Join us in turning the tide from displacement to making place. Trouble doesn’t last always, and joy comes in the morning. And as we’ve seen over and over again this year, the morning is here!
2021 at the Jackson Center:
- We made a joyful noise in the streets! We organized COVID-safe singing telegrams, porch parties, cinema nights, intergenerational conversations, and a Halloween parade!
- We celebrated 50 long-term homeowners continuing their legacy: living close, proud, and connected through critical home repairs, property tax support, and estate planning.
- We reached over 1,300 K-12 students, sharing Black history through virtual and in-person workshops during the school year. In the summer, we facilitated a weeklong Freedom School, inviting students to co-create liberation and passing the baton to the next generation of community organizers.
- We’re Victory Planning! Together, Board, staff, and residents are dreaming about the next chapter: an abundant future grounded in history and place.
Thank you for being part of our community!