My name is Miles Charles, the newest Summer Fellow at Next Stage. I am a rising sophomore at Davidson, a competitive swimmer, a NC native and a double major in Political Science and History. But the reasons I am excited to be at Next Stage go far deeper than fulfilling college credits.

May 2020. I was spending the afternoon at a friend’s beach house when I watched the full recording of George Floyd’s death. My entire life I have been surrounded by white people – in my neighborhood, in school, and through sports. While I noticed these differences between myself and others, I never came to terms with what these differences may mean until watching an officer kneel on the neck of George Floyd. I watched those who were supposed to protect us murder a man who could have just as easily been myself, my dad, brother, or sister. And for what? For being Black? For being “imposing”? “scary”? These were all questions racing through my head, awakening me to the fact that we live in a society of systemic inequalities. To enact change within these systems I chose to be a part of the solution.

While I had participated and found interest in a variety of social causes, it was the summer of 2020 that lit my passion for equity; equity in treatment, justice, and education. It is this passion for equity and my devotion to the work needed to be done that drew me to Next Stage. Working at an intersection between the private sector and nonprofits, Next Stage has situated itself to fill a gap desperately needed by both parties. By both supporting nonprofits in their work and linking the private sectors to these nonprofits, Next Stage is changing the landscape of nonprofits. After one week of working with the team, I can say with confidence that Next Stage and the social good they are doing has no limits. Throughout the summer I hope to get acquainted with the city of Charlotte and all it has to offer, but most importantly, I hope to be a part of what Next Stage and its team is building, on however small a scale that is.