Introducing DIRECT: How Cities and Towns Can Engage in Racial Equity Conversations

Zoom, Raleigh, NC  
Tuesday, February 01, 2022 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM   iCalendar Eastern Standard Time

Introducing DIRECT: How Cities and Towns Can Engage in Racial Equity Conversations

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in May of 2020, communities across the country are working to address racial disparities, societal unrest and shifting cultural expectations—it can be hard to local governments to know where to begin. That’s why NCLM created DIRECT and the DIRECT Approach.

DIRECT stands for Diversity, Inclusion & Racial Equity for Cities and Towns, and it works alongside municipal officials to acknowledge existing inequalities, identify local history and data, and examine municipal policies and procedures that contribute to structural and systemic racism in local communities. Through this shared understanding and knowledge, DIRECT empowers local officials to develop strategies that work toward stronger, more equitable communities.

This webinar will provide the basics city and town leaders need to advance discussions and local efforts on racial equity. Webinar attendees will have the opportunity to learn valuable information and engage in meaningful conversations. The course includes:

· Discussion of the importance of racial equity and its associated values

· Review of historical events that have impacted racial equity at the national, state, and local level

· Examination of relevant data that impacts racial equity

· Strategies and tools for practical solutions at the local level

· Participation in a racial wealth gap learning simulation

The DIRECT webinar is available to members for $65 plus applicable taxes and $75 plus applicable taxes to nonmembers. Attendees who complete the course will earn 2.5 credit hours toward AML’s Order of Municipal Leadership.

If your town wants to address racial inequities, but you’re not sure where to start, Introducing DIRECT: How Cities and Towns Can Engage in Racial Equity Conversations is the first step in learning more. Register today!



Like many organizations in the aftermath of George Floyd, the North Carolina League of Municipalities Board of Directors committed to investigating ways city and town leaders could advance racial equity in their communities. As a result of its commitment, the Board established the Task Force on the Impact of City Leaders on Racial Equity, and subsequently, the DIRECT program. DIRECT which stands for Diversity, Equity and Racial Equity for Cities and Towns, is a curriculum developed by the N.C. League of Municipalities to raise awareness and provide city and town leaders with shared language and understanding to advance local discussions and efforts on racial equity.

DIRECT helps North Carolina cities and towns, as well as their elected and appointed officials, strengthen their communities by identifying and addressing racial disparities at the local level. Learn more at

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Additional Information

Meeting Agenda:

10:00 am – 10:10 am - Welcome and Introductions (Commissioner Bill Harris)

10:10 am – 10:25 am – Leading with Values (Vickie Miller)

10:25 am – 10:40 am – Making the Connection with History Part 1

10:40 am – 10:50 am – BREAK

10:50 am – 11:30 am – Making the Connection with History Part 2 (Tom Carruthers)

11:30 am – 12 pm – Drawing the Thru Line and Preparing for Practical Solutions (Vickie Miller)

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm - Racial Wealth Gap Simulation and Discussion

12:30 pm – Wrap-up/Close



Map & Directions


Thomas Carruthers

, North Carolina

Thomas Carruthers image
As NCLM’s Senior Assistant General Counsel, Tom provides legal advice and support to League Departments, assists member local governments on legal, procedural and strategic issues, prepares and presents educational materials, drafts Amicus briefs, and interprets and drafts legislation in support of local government issues. Prior to joining the League, Tom served as Assistant County Attorney to the Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers. His areas of practice included civil litigation, public records requests, public contracting and advisor on First Amendment issues. Tom also served as the City Attorney with the City of Greensboro where he provided critical legal guidance to the Mayor, City Council, and City Manager across numerous practice areas. He served as a key strategic planner, advisor and liaison. Tom coordinated closely with City Manager, senior administrators and department heads to implement the Manager’s vision and directives from the City Council and managed departmental legal resources including seven staff attorneys, five paralegals and assigned administrative staff. Earlier in his career, Tom served as an Assistant District Attorney with the 24th Judicial District and has also worked in private practice in civil litigation and business law.
William Henry Harris

Fuquay Varina, NC

With more than three decades of experience as an elected official, William H. Harris has a keen understanding of local government, politics, and public service. After growing up in Fuquay-Varina and graduating from Fuquay Consolidated High School, Bill earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Public Administration from North Carolina Central University. While in office as a Town Commissioner, Bill has served two terms as Mayor Pro Tem, Chairmen of the Law and Finance Committee, and is currently Chairmen of the Public Works Committee. He has been an Adjunct Professor at Shaw University where he taught in the Public Administration Department. He has received numerous awards for his service to the public, most notably, the Outstanding Citizenship Award presented by the Fuquay-Varina Chamber of Commerce, the Political Service Award given by the Garner Road YMCA and the Political Achievement Award presented by the National Pan- Hellenic Council of the Greater Raleigh Area. In addition to his duties as a Commissioner, Bill was recently elected to the North Carolina League of Municipalities (NCLM) Board of Directors and serves as Co-Chairman of the Tax and Finance Sub-Committee. Bill also works with the Department of Human Services as a member of the Community Engagement and Empowerment Team. The team focuses on empowering communities and individuals to achieve their fullest potential through a commitment to community inclusion. Commissioner Harris is a member of First Baptist Church and has served in various roles to include, Sunday School Teacher, Church Treasurer and Chairmen of the Deacon Board. He is a 32 Degree Mason and member of the Iota Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Mr. Harris loves to play the trumpet and the game of golf. He and his wife Meta reside in Fuquay-Varina where they’ve raised three children and are currently the proud grandparents of six beautiful grandchildren.
Vickie Miller

Raleigh, NC

Vickie Miller image
As NCLM’s Director of Learning and Development, Vickie responsible for leading, managing, and delivering the League's training, education, and mentoring programs for elected officials. She has a distinguished career focused on helping others—prior to joining the League, Vickie served as the Executive Director for the nonprofit North Carolina Operation Lifesaver. She also served as the Director of Community Investment and Assistance at the N.C. Department of Commerce where she oversaw the state Community Development Block Grant program. Vickie holds a Bachelor of Arts and a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned the Certified Public Manager designation from the North Carolina State Office of Personnel, the Certified Housing Development Professional and Certified Finance Development Professional from the National Development Council.

Events & Sessions

NameStart DateEnd Date
Session2/1/2022 10:00 AM2/1/2022 12:30 PM