Braxton Winston II is one of the leading decision-makers for the big sister city of North Carolina. Some of Winston’s many accomplishments in Charlotte’s local government include pushing for a comprehensive city plan, creating the first Unified Development Ordinance, and creating a local-level pandemic plan. Winston works with 11 other city officials from various backgrounds. Together they bring their voices on policies and community discussions, establishing a common ground amongst each other to move the community forward. Winston shares that the decision among those voices gives him the responsibility to speak to eternal groups, such as the media and citizens, for transparency on community issues and forward movement. Winston describes himself as a leader who’s not afraid to stand out. He believes in being transparent with the community, even if it’s having those uncomfortable conversations.

Charlotte’s newest Mayor, Pro-Tem, describes himself as an engaged citizen who believes in the American experience. He came from humble beginnings. Winston was born to a New York City fireman and educator in Camp Lejeune, NC, and later relocated to Brooklyn, NY. Winston is a man of many titles. He’s a father, football coach, teacher, and union member. He also works in sports and TV entertainment production.

“The expansion of equal protection rights for citizens is essential to what we can become in this country”. he shared with the Exclusive Press (EP). He believes that America has yet to be equal to all citizens. Winston expressed that equal rights protection was only for a small percentage of groups. From a positive outlook, he explains that the US Constitution did serve as a pathway for groups that weren’t equally protected, that they too can initiate their constitutional rights of equal protection. The Women’s
Suffrage Movement and Voting Rights of 1965 (response to voting inequality among African Americans) come to mind when reflecting on initiating your constitutional rights.

“I believe in this American experience – not for who we are or once were, but who we can become if we really have a high fidelity to our democratic process and engage in those processes. I believe that Charlotte has a chance. 200 years from now, when history books are written – looking at an American city that dealt with all the scars of our past. A city that dealt with those scars in a way that push this kind of American idea forward,” he explained.

The decisions made on policies can have a long-term effect, negatively and positively, on cities. It’s a matter of getting engaged and knowledgeable about the policy practice and the structures of the systems and how to insert oneself in that to affect the changes we want to see. “We are a represented government; the city council represents the will and desires of the people. If we are clear of the idea (the American experience), clear as a body (city council body), then the people’s will be clear,” Winston shared with the EP.

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