A Charlotte Movement to Unite All Cultures

A Charlotte Movement to Unite All Cultures

By Rosanny Crumpton

International Minority Coalition Founder, Willie Fleming, had a vision in 2017 to create a group of community members that would help change the negative narrative about Black and Brown communities.

At the time, having experienced a term as county president for the African American Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party (AAC-NCDP) and freshly rolling off two terms as State president for the caucus, he felt energized to start something new and internationally inclusive. The new mission would be to unite and represent those who are often underrepresented.  

The International Minority Coalition (IMC) is a diverse group of approximately 130 members who meet every month to discuss community concerns and support one another in celebrating international cultures across the Charlotte region. Several members of the IMC are elected city, county and state officials.  

While it is not a requirement to be a minority to be an IMC member, the group includes African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and other ethnic groups. Some of the International countries represented within the IMC include Afghanistan, Cuba, Ghana, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Jamaica, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan and the Philippines.  

While Fleming felt inspired to ensure that concerns of the minority community are presented and addressed, he said a major area of focus is creating a sense of community.   

“It wasn’t created to be about race. It’s to bring people together. When people come together, there’s no way we can lose,” he said.  

Fleming began sharing his vision of uniting as one organization in 2017. As people seemed interested, he began to organize meetings. “At first, I had nowhere to meet. I went out to Jyoti’s, on Albemarle Road, and spoke to them. We reserved two tables at first By the end of that year, we filled the whole restaurant,” he said. 

Ninety-five percent of the members that were there when IMC first started are still members today, said Fleming. While the concept has evolved over the last few years, the IMC mission stands: to ensure the concerns of minority communities are addressed and presented to elected officials, and to come together and unite.  

IMC members support one another at events held by various international groups and cultures across the region. They host information sessions to learn about different cultures, and they can be spotted at candidate meet and greets. They also band together with other community organizations to help spread the word about the importance of voting and other issues.  

Fleming is most proud of the collaborative work that IMC does with community partners which includes, but is not limited to feeding and providing clothes to the unhoused population, hosting food drives, providing tennis camps to youth for free, providing covid testing and covid vaccines, championing elected officials, and supporting one another through international celebrations. The IMC has signature annual events that include a summer picnic and a Fall Gala among others.  

Fleming is looking forward to helping to uplift minority communities, uniting people of all communities, and ending the myth that we can’t all work together. 

“Our motto is, ‘We’re stronger together,’ and that’s what I truly believe. If we can focus on the mission, we can get things done,” he said.” 

IMC members are interested in making our communities safer and a better place to live and work in, and IMC invites people to join the movement, Fleming said.

IMC meets monthly on the second Sunday of each month at Club Nile in Charlotte. For more info, visit ncimc.org .