Name: Christopher “CeeJ” Jefferson
Past political experience: N/A
How do you define equity and how does that translate into how you approach financial, programmatic, and policy decisions?
Equity to me is the means to close disparity gaps in social and economic resources or the needs that are provided to be treated fairly. I approach any facet of decision-making in relation to equity by determining the factors.
Who does this affect? How is this beneficial to all segments of this community?
I believe with a simple approach that keeps people at the forefront, we can then assure every opportunity or advancement is equitable and we will have sound decision making.
What can the city do to make downtown a more welcoming environment for Black and Brown residents, visitors, and entrepreneurs?
The city can be intentional about diversifying downtown. There should be measures taken to assess the community directly. We have witnessed intentionality when it comes to making downtown a place that is inviting for families. We must now be creative in an approach to make it welcoming for segments of our community that desire to feel included in our growth. We need cultural vibrancy downtown. As the city continues to attract economic development, what proactive steps can the city take to protect neighborhoods from gentrification?
I believe that as our city grows and experiences an economic boom, we have to attach programs and methodical ways to increase human capital in our communities that otherwise won’t take part in that growth. There are wage gaps and knowledge gaps that being proactive to combat will eliminate barriers that ultimately lead to gentrification. You can’t gentrify a community that is qualified.
List three steps the city can take to help combat gun violence.
I have begun the work by building a bridge of trust between local government, Police, and citizens. In order to combat gun violence, we have to tap into the young people and create a culture that establishes a sense of pride in our city. This task is a cohesive project and more specifically…
1. Collaborate with community members to obtain thoughts, concerns.
2. Strategize on the most feasible and effective ways to increase engagement within the community.
3. Consistently build trust and relationships with proactive efforts that keep the community lively and proud.
Spartanburg has been a place immigrant and refugee communities have contributed to shaping since the 1950s. And Spartanburg attracts very high rates of foreign direct investment. How can Spartanburg leverage its strengths in a global future?
Spartanburg can continue to diversify investor portfolios and build relationships that could lead to more innovative spaces and opportunities for our city. To place value on the ones who helped shape this city is a vital part of becoming a better Spartanburg. Creating more opportunities in the workplace for these communities strengthens them, and for any investor, it’s important to invest in the people that live where they work.
How should the city move forward with public transit and the development of complete streets and pedestrian safe zones within its footprints, and what opportunities do see for collaboration with the county outside of the city limits?
Our recent study suggests that we have a ways to go with improvements to our transit system. As we continue to grow, this will be at the forefront of our needs. People of this city struggle day to day with inadequate transportation. This will simultaneously help us determine and create pedestrian safe zones. The city and county could collaborate in funding for the sustainability of the assessed needs to see this project through over the coming years.
What measure(s) should the city put in place to continue combatting COVID-19, and should the city use its resources to help ease the burden on schools within the city limits?
We have to continue encouraging our residents to follow all CDC guidelines and take the initiative to go even further with wearing masks and staying distanced. We can run an engaging campaign to create a unified attitude towards safety. The city should use any resource possible to help the schools. I work in District 7 and we are dealing with Covid and quarantines on a daily basis. We need to come to the table and hear from school staff and help them navigate this pandemic within the schools. The open ear and appreciation towards all they have endured are vital.
Our work is a cycle. Enter anywhere, engage anywhere that speaks to you. At the center, and part of every endeavor is the purpose that binds us: thriving in the community.