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Axios Charlotte reporters Emma Way and Katie Peralta Soloff hosted a virtual conversation on economic recovery in the sports and entertainment industries in Charlotte featuring Gov. Roy Cooper (D-N.C.) and Fred Whitfield, president of Hornets Sports & Entertainment.

Gov. Roy Cooper discussed the vaccine rollout in North Carolina and efforts to ensure equitable distribution.

  • Why sports arenas make effective vaccination sites: "[These vaccines] are very difficult to store...So it's much more difficult to go out in communities and in small places to administer this vaccine because of how you have to store it. So these mass vaccination events can work well. And we were glad to bring in the business community and the sports teams have it in a place where everybody knows."
  • On the unequal impact of the pandemic: "This pandemic has been shining a light on challenges that already exist, and we know that this virus has hit communities of color and underserved communities extra hard."

Fred Whitfield discussed how the Hornets have adapted to the pandemic, as well as the social responsibility of businesses during times of crisis.

  • How sports centers have been utilized for the public good: "We were an early voting site for 16 days prior to the November election, the first time our building had been open to the public at that point. This Saturday is going to be a mass vaccination partnership...and we expect two to three thousand people to come into our building and be vaccinated."
  • On deepening the Hornets' connection to Charlotte: "We've been doing everything we can to earn our way in this community and become part of the core of the community. We look at the Spectrum Center as a gathering place for an entire community. The city owns our building and we take very seriously our obligation to be great stewards of that building."

Axios Senior Vice President of Events Kristin Burkhalter hosted a View from the Top segment with singer and songwriter Josh Daniel to discuss the entertainment industry in Charlotte and how he's adapted to the pandemic.

  • On his success with live music broadcasts: "I've connected with more people than I ever have. I've paid my bills. I've also been able to raise $50,000 for nonprofit charity organizations...I've gone from five thousand followers to forty thousand followers this year."

Thank you Facebook for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Feb 11, 2021 - Health

Gov. Roy Cooper: Vaccine distribution to communities of color needs to be "intentional"

The state of North Carolina has been been conscientiously working to combat vaccine hesitancy among communities of color, and is being "intentional" about distribution, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said at an Axios event on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Communities of color are hesitant to get vaccinated because of medical mistrust brought on by systemic racism in the health cares system.

Updated Feb 10, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: Small Business Recovery in Minneapolis

Axios Twin Cities reporters Torey Van Oot and Nick Halter hosted a virtual conversation on Black-owned businesses, PPP loans and the future of the economy in Minneapolis featuring Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D - Minn.) and Du Nord Craft Spirits CEO and owner Chris Montana.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar discussed how the government should provide more help to Black and minority-owned businesses.

  • On pushing to include a venture capital proposal focusing on women and minorities in the next relief plan: "I'm actually leading an effort to make sure that we focus on women as well as minorities [in the next PPP stimulus package] to make sure that they're at the front of the line. When the next PPP money goes out, it's looking at [targeted] programs to encourage entrepreneurship."
  • On seeing a path forward for a $15 minimum wage: "I think the time has come. And so that's something that obviously is a priority for President Biden...We're in a place where we can get it done."

Chris Montana discussed his experience as a small business owner in Minneapolis and highlighted the importance of having institutions mirror the communities that they serve.

  • "I think that all of our institutions — government, business, social engagement — should all be reflective of the community. Our business community really isn't. And because kids like me grow up not seeing examples of people in boardrooms and law firms or distilleries, we don't know that's on our horizon. I think that that needs to change."

Axios Chief Revenue Officer Fabricio Drumond hosted a View from the Top segment with Facebook VP and Head of Scaled Solutions of Global Business Marketing Judy Toland, who discussed the economic impact of the pandemic on small businesses.

  • "The pandemic has not affected all small businesses equally. We've seen that Black-owned businesses are closing at twice the rate of others since the start of the pandemic. And when they are saying open, their sales are decreasing at a higher rate by a rate of 30%."

Thank you Facebook for sponsoring this event.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Feb 11, 2021 - Sports

New app from a former Disney exec looks to bring the magic back to youth sports

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A new app called MOJO has arrived to bring the magic back to youth sports through better coaching and a greater emphasis on fun.

Why it matters: Youth sports participation in the U.S. is declining at an alarming rate, thanks largely to poor coaching.