Students, faculty and staff at Charlotte’s Johnson C. Smith University have teamed up to present a unique, online community portal to help them share their history and story in the lead up to the Queen City’s historic hosting of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

From the school’s as-of-yet-completed website, run-dnc-2012.org:

The REEL Urban Network’s RUN DNC 2012 project, inspired by the 2012 Presidential Elections and Charlotte’s historic role, is an innovative interdisciplinary project formed by the faculty and students at Johnson C. Smith University.

This project was launched in an effort to provide students, alumni and the residents of the West Charlotte area community an online platform to discuss issues and experiences that matter to them and how, we can work together to improve our community through the democratic process, civic engagement, and the sharing our stories.

The Charlotte Observer also reports:

The convention is one of the catalysts behind the new RUN DNC website at Johnson C. Smith University.

But it isn’t the only focus of the multimedia page, which launches Friday. Through videos, photos and writings, as many as 400 students will be “digitelling” stories on and off campus leading up to the convention.

A big part of their storyline will be reports about the campus’ westside – its civil rights and political history, its citizens and the present-day happenings that tie in with the rest of urban America.

“When all the reporters come, either we can tell the westside stories, or someone else does,” said Laurie Porter, communication arts professor and one of several faculty members leading the project, including Tonya Williams.

There’s lots of stuff happening among the local LGBT community’s leadership circles and lots of great conversation on how we can take advantage of the media spotlight being directed Charlotte’s way. Johnson C. Smith’s initiative is a great example of how communities in Charlotte can share their stories to a wider audience both within and outside the city.

If you don’t live in Charlotte, Cleveland, Minneapolis or St. Louis, or if you aren’t a politics/news junky, or if you aren’t in someway involved in Democratic politics, you’ve likely not heard that Charlotte is in the running to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

But, if you do already know that have you yet heard all the discussion surrounding Charlotte’s current treatment of LGBT people and issues? Fear not, and find a comprehensive round-up of all the discussions below…

How do potential DNC 2012 host cities compare on LGBT equality?
July 13. InterstateQ.com
see also: Pam’s House Blend, DemConWatch

A reality check for my own enthusiasm for Charlotte Hosting the DNC2012.
July 13. Mark Wisniewski

Open letter to the DNC: LGBT Charlotteans need the 2012 Democratic Convention.
July 27. InterstateQ.com
see also: Pam’s House Blend, DemConWatch

DNC 2012 as Therapy for Local Gays.
July 27. Meck Deck

Interesting Open Letter* by Matt Comer.
July 27. Mark Wisniewski

City failing on DNC platform issue: treatment of gays, lesbians.
Aug. 15. Charlotte Observer
see also: Mark Wisniewski’s longer, original commentary

Wisniewski on the Keith Larson Show.
Aug. 17. QNotes

Today and Wednesday, the Democratic National Committee’s 2012 convention site selection committee will visit Charlotte. While here, they’ll take a look at several criteria: transportation, security, convention space, hotel capacity and more.

Charlotte leaders, including Mayor Anthony Foxx, have been working hard to woo the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Their website, Charlottein2012.com, outlines facts, figures and statistics on the Charlotte area, and they are working on compiling a resource list of all the great things to do and see in and around the Queen City.

The first “fact” in their Fact Sheet (PDF) states we are “an energetic, innovative, diverse city on the move,” yet this quick “fact” forgets about one key Democratic constituency that has often been ill-served and ignored by Charlotte’s Democratic leadership. Unfortunately, local and state leaders’ exhuberance over Charlotte’s possible hosting of the Democratic National Convention has overshadowed just how slow the area has been to making progressive change, particularly for LGBT citizens.

The Democratic National Convention stands to bring countless numbers of LGBT Americans to our city. It is an event for a political party whose ideals of equality and inclusion are rarely, if ever, taken to heart by our own local Democratic Party leaders.

At first glance, this lack of progress seems nothing but a negative stain on Charlotte but it doesn’t have to be. The Queen City has much more growing to do, and the Democratic National Convention’s presence here could help to highlight the many issues faced by our local LGBT community and push local leaders over whatever obstacles keep them from fully and publicly supporting LGBT people and citizens here.

So, here is my open letter to the DNC. I ask you to consider Charlotte carefully and provide a fair selection process to all potential host cities. But, in the end, I hope you do choose Charlotte.

Read on for an in-depth exploration of the state of LGBT Charlotte — both positive and negative — and how the convention could help our city move forward. Continue reading this post…

At the end of June, the Democratic National Committee announced its four finalists for hosts of the 2012 Democratic National Convention: Charlotte, Cleveland, Minneapolis and St. Louis.

Here in Charlotte, our city leaders, party players and civic-minded bloggers have been a’glow with the news. Politics Daily’s Mary C. Curtis, who lives in here, wrapped up the reaction and steps local leaders are taking to woo the convention, which could bring as much as $150 million to $250 million to the area’s economic bottom line.

But, how do each of the four cities compare on LGBT equality, one of the foremost progressive and civil rights issues of the day? Take a look-see for yourself…

Continue reading this post…