*Since the filming of this video, PTA Thrift Shop has rebranded to CommunityWorx.
My name is Barbara Jessie-Black, and I’m the executive director of the PTA Thrift Shop in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
When I became executive director of the PTA Thrift Shop, I realized that we had such an opportunity to really sort of, to your point, walk the walk because we were an organization that people were so familiar with that had been entrenched in the community for 50 plus years at the time or 60 plus years at the time. What better way to do that than to employ people who, on some level, are unemployable to the general population? And also to pay them in such a way that gives them value, because a lot of folks, when they come out of facilities of any kind, there’s this lack of value, and they don’t perceive themselves as being valuable necessarily. And so I think we’re in a unique position because we have a lot of resources.
I will also say that you know, we’re an organization that’s run by people of color, and that’s incredibly important. The responsibility of especially myself because I’m executive director, as a woman of color, I’m keenly aware that I have a responsibility, and that responsibility is to bring people in that look like me, that don’t necessarily get the opportunities that they should get. Our organizational lens is always around equity.
Again, as the leadership team you have to walk the walk and really continue to do that and model that behavior, because people don’t typically do what you say or ask them to do. They do what they see you do.
See more from the People Matter series here.