Meet the Panelists for YWCA’s 2020 Stand Against Racism Forum

Meet the Panelists for YWCA’s 2020 Stand Against Racism Forum

COVID-19 continues to impact loved ones, healthcare workers, service industry workers, children and our entire system. It’s impact challenges everyone to become creative, resourceful and caring. Yet, the coronavirus pandemic has allowed us to come together, across all sectors, regardless of socioeconomic status, to create a sense of community again. 

On Thursday, June 25, YWCA Central Carolinas will talk to individuals leading this fight in our systems to learn how they have adjusted to this new normal. What policies and procedures have they had to adjust in order to meet the needs of the community?

Meet our panelists and moderator for this event, and join our Zoom forum or see our live stream on YWCA’s YouTube channel or Facebook page.

Dr. Melvin Herring, Ph.D. MSW (Moderator)

Dr. Melvin Herring is the Director of the Master of Social Work Program. He has been recognized for his work in the area of Cultural Competence. Amongst other scholarly work, he co-authored the book Human Behavior Theory and Social Work Practice with Marginalized Oppressed Populations (2019, Routledge) and the article Implementation of an Interdisciplinary Cultural Competence Training with Law Enforcement Personnel in the Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work (2019). 

He also co-developed a cultural competence theoretical model to guide his practice and pedagogical approach and has utilized this model to train numerous students and organizations. He has been sought out by numerous organizations for cultural competence education and training and has presented at several local, state, and national conferences on this topic, including South Carolina National Association of Social Works Conference, and The Action Council For Cross Cultural Mental Health and Human Services. Dr. Herring is also the director of the School of Social Work’s Single Stop Family and Community Support Services. Single Stop meets individuals and families on their terms at the places they frequent most. Through a unique one-stop shop, Single Stop provides coordinated access to safety net services provided by community partners—connecting people to the resources they need to attain higher education, obtain good jobs, and achieve financial stability. The Family and Community Support Service is the first to pilot this technological platform to expand these services to the k-12 population. 

Rev. Dr. Jan Edmiston

The Rev. Dr. Jan Edmiston is General Presbyter of Charlotte Presbytery which is comprised of the 96 Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations in Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus, Anson, Stanly, Montgomery, and Richmond Counties. She is devoted to talking about race in ways that open doors and invite conversation. Previous to moving to Charlotte in 2018, Jan served congregations in rural New York and Northern Virginia, and was later the Associate Executive Presbyter in Chicago Presbytery.

Jan also served as Co-Moderator of the Presbyterian Church USA from 2016-2018 with the Rev. Denise Anderson.  This is the highest elected office in their denomination and during their tenure, they served as ambassadors for the church, traveling throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe talking about racial injustice and how the church must do better in understanding and eradicating white privilege.  Jan is especially excited to share that the National White Privilege Conference, founded by Dr. Eddie Moore, will be in Charlotte in Spring 2022.  Please look for upcoming details on this life-changing event.  You can learn more about the conference here.

Sherriff Gary L. McFadden

Sheriff Garry L. McFadden was elected to serve as the 45th Sheriff of Mecklenburg County and was sworn into office on December 4, 2018. Prior to being elected as Sheriff, Garry had a distinguished 36 year law enforcement career with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department where he served for over 20 years as a legendary homicide detective.
Garry’s unconventional methods and deep ties to the community helped him to solve hundreds of murders over the course of his illustrious career.

As a detective, Garry had one of the highest solve rates in police department history which lead to him starring in his own television series, “I Am Homicide.” The series highlights some of Garry’s biggest cases and how the perpetrators were caught. Sheriff McFadden can still be seen on television in the series “Homicide City” on the Investigation Discovery (ID) network.
Sheriff McFadden is originally from Sumter, South Carolina but affectionately calls Elliott S.C. home – also home to his beloved high school Mt Pleasant High “Striking Rattlers” and came to Charlotte in 1977 to attend Johnson C. Smith University of which he is a proud alumnus. He is a husband, father of three adult children and a proud grandfather. Sheriff McFadden is approaching his fortieth year in law enforcement and is still committed to influencing change by being “the difference.”

Shay Merritt

Shay Merritt is a Charlotte native, a graduate of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, and a third-generation graduate of North Carolina State University.  She joined Loaves in Fishes in January 2016 after achieving solid experience as both community volunteer and nonprofit professional. She currently serves as a member of the board of directors of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Food Policy Council. 

She is a former board member of Crisis Assistance Ministry, The Relatives, the Catawba Lands Conservancy, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.  Shay also spent nine years on staff at the Food Bank in charge of grants and volunteers. Prior to joining the Food Bank, she spent 25+ years in broadcasting management, including WBTV, News 14 Carolina (Spectrum News), and WCNC.  She also currently serves on the Planning Team for the Charlotte CROP Hunger Walk.

D.A. Spencer Merriweather III

District Attorney Spencer B. Merriweather III has served as the chief prosecutor of Mecklenburg County since 2017. He established a Violent Crimes Team, which focuses on shootings and felony assaults, and a Special Victims Team, a group of trauma-informed prosecutors and staff who seek justice for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. A champion of recruiting attorneys from under-represented communities, DA Merriweather also created the office’s Diversity and Inclusion Team.

Before becoming District Attorney, he served as an Assistant District Attorney for more than a decade, prosecuting an array of cases. DA Merriweather earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Earnest Winston

Earnest Winston was named superintendent for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools August 2, 2019. He brings the experiences of a teacher, a parent, a communicator and a chief of staff to the role. Winston joined CMS in 2004 as an English teacher at Vance High School, where he also taught journalism and served as adviser to the school’s student newspaper. After two years in the classroom, he moved into administration, joining the district’s communications department as an external communications supervisor.

In 2008, he became executive coordinator/communications liaison for then-Chief Operating Officer Hugh E. Hattabaugh, who became interim superintendent in July 2011. Winston served as chief of staff to the two superintendents who followed Hattabaugh. In 2017, he was named chief community relations and engagement officer.
A native of Chicago, Winston holds a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University. He is married with two daughters who are CMS students. 

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