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December 21, 2023 | Faith, Community and Non-Profit Leader Check-In Meeting

Meeting Purpose:

Biweekly interfaith community meeting to share updates and build connections.

Our every other week check-in meeting is open to anyone interested in supporting compassionate community response to our most vulnerable neighbors. Meetings are held online every other Thursday from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Email LeDayne Polaski for Zoom access code. In addition, if you would like to receive notification when these minutes are posted, please email LeDayne and ask to be added to the Thursday meetings email list.

Want to learn more about we do on our calls? Watch this short video clip!


Click HERE to Access Zoom Recording:



Key Takeaways


COVID-19 Update

Behavioral Health Strategic Plan

Give Impact

Black Youth Mental Wellness Initiative

Immigrant Solidarity Fund

MeckMIN 2024 Priorities

Next Steps:

  • Share COVID precautions with congregations and community members.

  • Provide input on the behavioral health strategic plan draft when available.

  • Learn more about Give Impact's services and charitable fund.

  • Spread the word about the Black Youth Wellness Initiative and make referrals.

  • Donate to the Immigrant Solidarity Fund and share with networks.

  • Get involved with MeckMIN's 2024 priorities and events.


Opening Reflection

“I see no stranger,” said Guru Nanak, "I see no enemy.” Guru Nanak taught that all of us could see the world in this way. There is a voice inside each of us called haumai, the I that names itself as separate from You. It resides in the bowl that holds our individual consciousness. But separateness is an illusion. When we quiet the chatter in our heads through music or meditation or recitation or song, the boundaries begin to disappear. The bowl breaks. For a moment, we taste the truth, sweet as nectar — we are part of one another. Joy rushes in. Long after the moment passes, we can choose to remember the truth of our interconnectedness, that we belong to one another. We can choose to “see no stranger.” When Papa Ji was humming the shabads day and night, he was not praying as much as practicing a constant communion with all things. It was his way of remembering the truth — rehearsing his wonder.


Valarie Kaur, from her book See No Stranger 

1. MeckMIN Updates


These meetings are open to anyone or any group interested in promoting the common good in our shared Charlotte-Mecklenburg community.

We do not allow announcements from for-profit groups promoting their businesses or campaigning from political candidates. Beyond that, we don’t have rules for who can speak or what they can share as long as they support our commitments to respectful conversation and the dignity of all people.

Because we have a very wide array of beliefs and understandings within our membership and because we want to keep these meetings open as an open forum, we’re going to add this disclaimer to the minutes: "The views and opinions expressed here are those of the speakers/presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the MeckMIN board or our member organizations."



We were late getting our annual fundraising letter into the mail this year, but it should be in your mailbox by now if you are a current, and we hope you’ll give as generously as you can. If you are not a current donor, please consider supporting these meetings and the rest of our work by making a donation. You can make a donation HERE




Please save the dates for the next Faith Leader meetings with Mayor Lyles and other Charlotte city officials. We're tentatively planning to gather at noon on Thursday, January 11 at Union Seminary and again on Tuesday, March 19, at noon (location TBD.) Details soon. 


PREPARE & PACK SHOES with MeckMIN + JustServe + Samaritan's Feet Saturday, January 20 | 9 AM - 12 PM


Join MeckMIN and JustServe to Prepare and Pack Shoes with Samaritan's Feet International on Saturday, January 20, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM at

4808 Chesapeake Drive, Charlotte, NC, 28216.Samaritan’s Feet volunteers 8 years+ may be asked to sort shoes by style, lefts, rights, and size, or they may be asked to pair shoes together by like-grouping. These tasks are essential for helping them prepare shoes for shipment locally, nationally, and internationally. Register HERE




Next meeting is January 4 followed by January 18 and February 1.  These meetings will remain open to all.


We’re so pleased that our newsletter has become a go-to resource for sharing important community events and information. Sometimes, though, it becomes too much of a good thing, and we’re asked to share much more than reasonably fits even in this electronic format. Because of that, on January 1, 2024, we’re going to start enforcing a long-standing policy and limit newsletter announcements to current house of faith or affiliate members. (You are a current member if you’ve made a membership gift within the last 12 months.) Memberships are on a sliding scale based on the number of members you have (houses of faith) or your annual budget (affiliate members).



If you are not yet receiving our regular email newsletter be sure and sign up here:



David Sweat, MPH  he/him

Director, COVID-19 Response Unit

Public Health | COVID-19 Response Unit

Mecklenburg County Government

Based on the data updates this week we see that COVID activity continues to increase statewide, and remains at a high level locally. Statewide, COVID related Emergency Department visits increased by 17% this week, COVID Hospital Admissions increased by 2.8%, and virus particles detected in wastewater samples increased by 39.5%. Locally we remain at a 4.75 average detection level in wastewater monitoring, and Atrium reported this week that 12% of their COVID tests were testing positive.




Según las actualizaciones de datos de esta semana, vemos que la actividad de COVID continúa aumentando en todo el estado y se mantiene en un nivel alto a nivel local. En todo el estado, las visitas al Departamento de Emergencias relacionadas con el COVID aumentaron un 17 % esta semana, las admisiones hospitalarias por COVID aumentaron un 2.8 % y las partículas de virus detectadas en muestras de aguas residuales aumentaron un 39.5 %. A nivel local nos mantenemos en un nivel de detección promedio de 4.75 en el monitoreo de aguas residuales, y Atrium informó esta semana que el 12% de sus pruebas de COVID dieron positivo.

  -David Sweat, Director de la Unidad de Respuesta de Covid-19


  • BIG weekend, be aware, respiratory viruses are widely circulating

  • Very HIGH level of Covid particles circulating around us-Not only Covid but Influenza and RSV also

  • Some congregations are requiring masking again, it is a personal choice but it is safer to make in congregant settings

  • Please continue to encourage your members to GET VACCINATED!!!!!


2. Non-Profit Updates

The views and opinions expressed below are those of the speakers/presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the MeckMIN board or our member organizations.


Kay Tembo, MPACommunity Relations CoordinatorPublic Information DepartmentMecklenburg County Government | 704-975-5042 | MeckNC.Gov


The county is working on a Behavioral Health Strategic Plan and we have been soliciting input from individuals with lived experience, service providers, and community stakeholders.  To ensure that we have a wide range of perspectives we would like an opportunity to present to your members and get input on their experiences and thoughts on the state of behavioral health services in the community. 


What is your current experience?


Lila Riley  - limited


Phyllis  - referrals


Jenny Kendrick  - none


Howard Olshansky, (he/him) Jewish Family Services  - challenging


Jessica Sykes  - siloed


Nicole Fortoso, - inaccessible


Rev. Sonja Lee - networking


Dr. Rose  - Scarce


CN372901  - expanding


What is needed?


Jenny Kendrick - Central database of info


Nicole Fortoso, CWS Charlotte  - language access


LeDayne McLeese Polaski - well-trained navigators


Howard Olshansky, (he/him) Jewish Family Services - Directory of resources


Rev. Sonja Lee -  capacity building for grassroots organizations


CN372901  - Utilizing Unite Us/NCCARE 360



Liz H. WardDirect | | 704-806-7957


Maya Bullock |


  • Celebrated 3rd anniversary last September

  • Main goal is to help support & put resources into action in affording housing

  • Help people create a vision, do a resource assessment, and create a plan - not project managers

  • Currently working with Trinity Pres and other Presbyterian churches -- looking forward to working w/many faiths

  • God was calling us to make bridges, make stronger connections, create upward mobility - -want to be able to shine a light and create goodness

  • Cool things coming in 2024 – launching a podcast – Authentic Conversations

  • Creating a fund in association w/Foundation for the Carolinas




Sonyia Richardson, Ph.D., M.S.W., L.C.S.W

Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, UNC Charlotte

Director, Race and Social Equity Academy

Director, Mental Health Practice and Research Lab

9201 University City Blvd. | Charlotte, NC 28223 

In moments of crisis, the wise build bridges, and the foolish build dams. - African Proverb


We are in the midst of a crisis. Specifically, a suicide crisis among Black youth. It was declared a national public health crisis by the Congressional Black Caucus in 2019 and later echoed by other political bodies. For the first time ever in history, Black early adolescents had higher rates of death by suicide than other racialized populations. And if you know anything about suicide, which I'm sure you do, suicide rates peak for racialized groups at younger ages and then decrease significantly as we get older which is the opposite of white populations which peak at later ages. In essence, our kids are dying and we are trying to do something about it. 


I'm Dr. Sonyia Richardson, Assistant Professor of Social Work at UNC Charlotte and today I'm here to briefly discuss an exciting initiative some colleagues and I from NC A&T State University, University of Central Florida, and University of South Florida are working on. In partnership with the Charlotte community, we have culturally adapted a suicide prevention care coordination intervention for Black youth. This model is grounded in science, theory, and techniques that are effective. We are now offering this intervention to any Black youth in Mecklenburg County and surrounding counties who have experienced suicidal thoughts or attempts in the past 90 days. It's a free family-based intervention where Community Health Workers are working with the youth and family helping to connect them to resources and managing their suicide risk. And what's really special about this intervention is it is tied to faith communities. We understand the power of spirituality and this connection. 


We are currently accepting referrals for this program. And within the last month, we can say that we have already saved lives. And there is nothing else suicide focused for our Black youth in the county. The flyer is posted for you. We need your help. 1) Please share our flyers with your congregations or other faith leaders. 2) If you come in contact with a potentially suicidal Black youth, connect the family to this resource. 3) If you want us to speak to your congregation, please reach out. It's a community effort.


Lastly, in partnership with Rev. Jordan Boyd and Rev. Dr. Sheldon Shipman we will be engaging in a clinical trial in the spring and we'll share more details about that at a later date. Special thank you to Howard Olshansky and Rev. Polaski for this opportunity and thank you all for your time.


  • Afro-Latino & LGTBQ are accepted in this program

CA-LINC Updated Flyer_10-2023
Download PDF • 3.68MB

Please share this flyer with your contacts


Madison Burke (She/Her/Hers) |

(cell) 919.520.1071 | (office) 919.680.4310

Migrant Services Coordinator

504 W Chapel Hill St, Suite 106 | Durham, NC 27701


  • Started in 2022 as a Mutual Aid Fund for Undocumented immigrants

  • There are a total of 5 funds in the state, all centered geographically so your gift supports your neighbors

  • An undocumented person for this program  is anyone who doesn’t have a work permit

  • Recognizes that undocumented people pay taxes yet are excluded from most assistance services

  • Help for up to $1000 for natural disasters, rent, utilities, etc.

  • This is a grassroots program

  • Website for the solidarity fund, with the application (in English and Spanish) and information on how to give:


3. General Information

OTHERS ON THE CALL (as time allows)

Madison Burke asked what are MeckMIN’s goals are for 2024?

1. MeckMIN has a role to play to help others live well together, training around conflict transformation, trauma & resilience

2. Clergy feeling very disconnected after Covid years. Got a grant to fund a series of lunches for clergy & faith leaders. Creating regular opportunities for these parties to get together

3. Continuing our programs that build relationships (Open Tables, Service Projects, Youth Programming, Women’s Faith Club, Thursday calls, Potlucks for Pluralism, Responding to Immigrant-Refugee needs in coalition with LAC)



a blessing for an unfinishable day


God, it seems that stopping is impossible.

Dishes need to be washed. Kids need to be fed. Aging parents need to be cared for. Deadlines need to be met. Medicines need to be administered. Diapers always need to be changed. (They multiply if I sleep, after all.)

Can you ease the burden of perfection?

Free me from this fantasy of the better me— my new exercise regime,

my sumptuous (healthy!) new recipes,

the way the perfect placement of my living room furniture would flatter the afternoon light on my social media feed.

God, make me more than perfect. Make me more than a job or role, or what I had planned for my golden years.

Make me something less predictable than my to-do lists and daily calendar.

In this culture of more, more, more, make me less.

Less tidy and afraid, less polished and buttoned up, less prideful and judgmental.

Turn down the volume of my expectations, and let me hear the birds sing another lovely truth:

I am deeply and wholly loved. I am beautiful and somehow delightful

even as I am unfinished.

-- This blessing is from our new book of blessings, The Lives We Actually Have (coming 2/14/23)

Next meeting:

Thursday, January 4 at 11 a.m.

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