It all started when…

I, Joel Elijah Odom, was born mid-fall at presbyterian hospital Thursday, Oct 8, 1998, at 6:24PM in Charlotte, North Carolina, to a beautiful young couple Tosha Dooley and Joel Odom. Gas was $1.09 a gallon, Ray Charles just performed at charlotte fest, and Bill Clinton is President. But most importantly, I have Charlotte in my blood and the people as my heart, this my HOME.

 
 
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Many demean the communities that suffer from the most disadvantages with labels such as the “ghetto and hood” but while many are ashamed to call Piedmont Courts, Springfield, and Beatties Ford home. I am proud and honored to call these communities my home. Gentrification is taking over my home and refusing the communities of its assets, culture, and rich presence. Recognizing only its negative attributes, justifying the displacement of an entire community. It is imperative that the people have a real leader that reflects the issues that are plaguing this great city. Living in Charlotte I have overcome many hurdles displacement, drugs, alcoholism, gangs, HIV, death, incarceration, education, and Alzheimer's just to get to this point in my life. I know firsthand the struggle of living in our city as a black man and watching my mother as a single mother. Not only do I understand the struggles imposed by these unique local issues, but I also know firsthand an issue that plagues more than just our community, but our entire nation. 

On October 4th, 2007, my mother passed away at the hands of one of the deadliest viruses impacting the world today: HIV. The only thing I had to fall back into is my strong commitment to God, knowing that there is a purpose for all that exists and the vision to become all that I can become. My mom and I would read and pray together. After her passing my great grandmother continued to spend many nights reading and praying with me developing strong respect for wisdom passed down from generation to generation. The wisdom passed continues to impact my life, instilling in me a deep understanding of my own self-worth and value.

Surrounded by four powerful women I had no option but to live up to the expectations of the great men and women that have come before me. This developed a deep passion for God, family, and community. With this passion I can inspire, uplift, and unify the city of Charlotte. Now is the time to encourage young men and women to create unified communities, who see our fellow Charlotteans for all the good they can bring. I will be working with skilled labor professionals, county commission, cms, and local universities to bring skilled labor back into Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Drastically reducing crime and violence. Stabilizing the income of low-paid families and developing middle-income based households.

We have the potential to set a higher standard for Charlotte, that cares for all of its citizens.  

Let's Bridge the Gap!