Local & State
|Patrick Graham: Trial ‘vindication’ opens new opportunities to serve|
|Former Charlotte Works leader wants new role|
|Published Wednesday, July 11, 2018 7:14 pm|
|PHOTO | TROY HULL|
|Former Charlotte Works CEO Patrick Graham, who quit after he was found not guilty last month on a domestic violence charge, is open to new opportunities in Charlotte’s philanthropic, education and nonprofit sectors.|
Patrick Graham wants a hand in building Charlotte’s social capital and his own career.
The former CEO of Charlotte Works and Urban League of Central Carolinas said he’d like to return to the nonprofit sector after he was acquitted last month on a domestic violence charge. After 17 years leading workforce development initiatives, Graham indicated he’d like to contribute his analytical skills to closing gaps between Charlotte’s haves and have-nots in workforce preparedness, housing and education.
“I don’t have to be the CEO,” he said. “I really want to help organizations and leaders develop more in terms of the strategies that they use to address issues. For me, I would like to be either on the academic side or within an organization or foundation that has a larger view of these types of issues. I really want to have the opportunity to do those.”
Graham, 47, was charged with misdemeanor assault on a female stemming from a March 22 confrontation at his home. Charlotte Works placed him on administrative leave pending the trial’s outcome, but Graham resigned afterward. The acquittal is “vindication,” and Graham’s goal is to resume a professional career that made him a fixture in Charlotte’s philanthropic community.
“Someone came to me and said, ‘Patrick, does an innocent man pay twice?’” he said. “For me, it’s not just about that. It’s about will I be able to live in this community and still be able to provide the type of intellectual capital that gave some successes to some organizations. That’s not me being arrogant. I’ve looked at and measured what we’ve done together in this community, and I still want to be part of that.
“It’s my home, and to me, it would be insane to allow a false accusation, to be acquitted and then not have that opportunity myself – someone who’s given thousands of people opportunities and intimately given other people opportunities to lead.”
Graham said his turn in court gave him a new perspective, especially on domestic violence. When men are assaulted, as he alleged, society assigns a stigma they often must live with.
“When you see systems that are biased, do you become part of that system or not, because we talk as if we’re not part of that system, but we are,” he said. “If we acquiesce to them, we’re supportive of them. For me, that was a question I had to ask. For me, it was what does this do to give me the opportunity to do differently.”
Graham said he’s exploring options in the nonprofit and education sectors. After three months of uncertainty, he’s looking forward to new possibilities with a clean slate.
“It allows me to step back, take a look at both my personal and professional life and say I have an opportunity now to do things different and better,” he said. “I was always hungry, but this makes me even more empathetic toward the people that this community serves all along the spectrum because I realize that through the grace of God, this can happen to anyone.”
|I am thankful for the, insight, wisdom and compassionate service Patrick Graham has offered to our community through his years here and I hope he will continue to be the important voice of justice he has always been. We need his presence.|
|Posted on July 13, 2018|
|You have been a good servant of the people and this community, I for one thank you for your many years of dedicated service and pray that God bless you to continue. Keep your head up!|
|Posted on July 12, 2018|
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