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This edition is sponsored by Raleigh Convergence Community
Here’s what’s happening now:

Black and Latinx residents in Wake County are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, but white residents are receiving COVID-19 vaccines at disproportionately higher percentages.

Wake County officials are working to change that, leaders said in a press conference Wednesday, mentioning recent clinics at historically Black churches.

Wake County demographics, according to 2019 Census estimates, includes:
67.9% white
21% Black
10.4% Latinx
7% Asian [more demographic info]

Meanwhile, the vaccination data for first doses in Wake County from the state shows:
73.76% white
13.75% Black
3.39% Latinx
5.94% Asian or Pacific Islander. 

The county will also partner with local chapters of the Divine Nine, historically Black Greek organizations with deep alumni ties, on sharing information on COVID-19 vaccines. [keep reading]


What else to know:

🍎 Wake County public schools campuses re-opened this week; for high school students, it's the first time back in person since the start of the pandemic. How it's going: [News & Observer]
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Message from Raleigh Convergence: 

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Today is the last installment of our portrait series by photographer Keenan Hairston, as local community leaders and professionals share their perspectives on recovery and hopes for the future. [full series]

Jess Porta, executive director of Raleigh Founded, on the community's recovery: 
 
Because we are an entrepreneurial community of over 400 companies, it wasn’t just our company that was hurting, it was nearly every company in our community. So to us, recovery looks a bit different.
 
Of course we want to refill our spaces and see our business return to normal, but more importantly, we want to see the companies (who it is our mission to support) come back stronger than ever. We want to see companies within our space recover customers and ultimately recover any lost revenue.
 
To do this we will have to continue to offer support by connecting companies to federal, state and local programs as well as the resources within our own community.
 
I think it will be another 6 months before we see more people return to traditional office environments, but even then, this pandemic has changed the way we live and work and we predict that many companies will return with a hybrid remote model where they keep a small office at a coworking space and give their employees flexibility to work remotely and in person. We are ready for that change.  [read more]
Quentin Todd, barber at Fades Barber Shop, on his hopes for the future for himself, the business and the the Raleigh community:

My hopes for 2021 is that we, first, work together to fully recover from this pandemic so that  people can get back to moving around freely like before.

Our barbershop is still fairly new to the downtown area so we’ll continue to create awareness of our location and services throughout the city. We’re also putting together plans to connect and give back to the  people in community so that we can continue to grow, support, spread love in the Raleigh area.

[read more]

Raleigh's economy is 5th best performing, according to the Milken Institute. Some of the areas the think tank says that the Raleigh metro area (which includes Cary) has going for it: high wage growth, relative housing affordability (this compares us to California and the Northeast), tech jobs, and nearby universities. Interestingly, the think tank said the area was hit "particularly hard" by the pandemic, yet is also "well-poised" for recovery. Zachery Eanes at the News & Observer has more.

The old Earth Fare in Morrisville will become a Trader Joe's (thanks for the tip, Sarah G.!) [WRAL]

The Saxapahaw General Store could begin construction at Transfer Company this summer, WRAL's Out and About reports from a podcast interview with co-founder Jason Queen. It will be the anchor grocery tenant to the property that includes the existing food hall, work hall and ballroom. [WRAL]
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