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Red Boot Challenge to drive compassionate listening and action within the community


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 12, 2017) – On Wednesday evening, community leaders joined The Red Boot Coalition Founder Molly Barker to unveil the nonprofit’s newest initiative – the Red Boot Challenge.

Beginning Feb. 13, the Red Boot Challenge will kick off with a 12-week curriculum that teaches and facilitates honest sharing and compassionate listening. The program focuses on personal development and improved understanding of how our response and perspectives impact the larger community.

“The Red Boot Challenge curriculum addresses the debilitating ‘us versus them’ mentality that is so prevalent in the world today,” said Barker. “By intentionally cultivating trust, understanding and the capacity to get beneath the divisiveness, we can instead see, honor and celebrate our shared humanity.

“At the conclusion of the challenge, participants will create a personalized engagement plan. We expect participants to bond over the experience and take what they’ve learned to positively impact the Charlotte community.”

The Red Boot Challenge will launch at 10 locations throughout Charlotte including Davidson College, Myers Park Baptist Church, Grier Heights Community Center, International House and Stratford-Richardson YMCA.

Each location will welcome up to 14 participants for a total of 140 in the inaugural Red Boot Challenge class. Registration may be completed online at



Charlotte community leaders including Mayor Jennifer Roberts, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department’s Major Mike Campagna, Charlotte Post Foundation Board Member Tiffany Capers, Educate to Engage Founder Patrice Funderburg and Leadership Charlotte Executive Director Elizabeth McKee joined Barker Wednesday night to speak about the new initiative.

• From Mayor Roberts: “The challenge we have is how do we open our hearts and minds to people who have different experiences? We’re too quick to put people in boxes. I applaud The Red Boot Coalition as they teach us to listen to each other and understand why people feel the way they do. It is reaffirming. It is hope. It can bring us through the tough times.”
• Tiffany Capers: “We challenge people to be in a brave space; to change as an individual, to change as a community and to challenge the systems in place in a meaningful way.”
• CMPD Major Campagna: “The real power is listening first and not listening to respond. The Red Boot Coalition is helping us develop a ‘constructive conversation team,’ a group of officers who will be trained in how to have real conversations with community members to build trust.”



The Red Boot Coalition is a nonprofit that teaches people how to engage in honest sharing and compassionate listening. Founded in 2014 by Molly Barker, The Red Boot Coalition has grown from one meeting location in Charlotte to 15 locations across the nation. For more information, visit, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.