Passionate advocate has love for community and equality. For a relatively new Charlotte-area resident, Roberta Dunn has become an amazingly well-connected advocate for LGBT equality.
She serves on the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte Board of Directors and on the steering committee for the Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee (MeckPAC). This year, she also served on an advisory committee for Mayor Anthony Foxx’s re-election campaign.
Previously a resident of Northern Virginia, Dunn moved to Charlotte six years ago. She’d always been passionate about community and worked with children, sports activities and in other areas. Not until her retirement and introduction to the Queen City, however, did she get her first inkling toward activism.
“I was going to Charlotte Gender Alliance meetings and one of the people there asked what we were doing for outreach,” Dunn says. “We were coming to meetings and learning about being trans and those issues but what were we doing to educate the community and work with the community?”
The question prompted Dunn to ask more. She contacted the police department to inquire about laws and the legal treatment of transgender people. She started attending classroom meetings and panel discussions at local universities. When she noticed other cities across the country moving forward on gay and transgender equality initiatives she reached out with a desire for Charlotte to do the same.
“I was introduced to MeckPAC and [former chair] Phil Hargett,” Dunn says. “He asked me to join MeckPAC and that’s when I started to get to know elected officials here.”
That moment, Dunn says, became the catalyst for her current involvement.
Since then, Dunn has taken the lead on several issues. After the murder of transgender Charlottean Toni Alston in April 2010, Dunn reconnected with the police department and engaged officials there in conversation on their relationship to the broader LGBT community. Her initial chats grew and resulted in a town hall meeting at the LGBT Community Center with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe, efforts that won her recognition as Equality North Carolina’s 2010 Equality Champion for the Charlotte region.
This year, Dunn has worked closely with a large group of community members in efforts to increase Charlotte’s official LGBT protections.