Ã‚Â¡La danza continÃƒÂºa! Demostrations against the Carr Mill dancing ban and Weaver Street Market's "Live on the Lawn"program will continue with a dance-in today at 5:30. See how much fun we had last week, and read on to learn more about what's going on...
For more of that community magicÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
We're Alive on the Lawn!
Same time, same place, same danceÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ let Carr Mill know that we're still here. Bring your friends, musical instrumentsÃ¢â‚¬â€ and your dancing shoes!
WSM lawn, Wednesday, August 30th 5:30 PM, the Carrboro community dances back!
Please forward widely.
The discussion and Footloose movie on Sunday night, I felt, was a success. At the event, I didn't get a chance to publicly thank the OWASA precinct Democrats (Owls) who co-sponsored the event and the County Democrats (Donkeys) who then lent us the projector. I would also like to thank our mayor Mark Chilton from whom I originally got the idea of showing the footloose movie while we were chatting at the Weave the morning the Footloose Bruce story broke in the Chapel Hill Herald.
I've included in the wiki the general minutes of the public/community meeting at the WITT from August 27. Please visit and edit in corrections or additions. Please try to have a username if you do this. In this way we may better engage with eaach other about our contributions.
A Response to Ã¢â‚¬Å“Live on the LawnÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ruffin Slater's Letter
To whom it may concern:
We, residents of Carrboro, and consumer-owners of WSMÃ¢â‚¬â€œ are grateful for the letter issued by the general manager of Weaver Street Market explaining the difficult situation WSM finds itself in when dealing with this matter. However, there were several core issues and concerns we feel his letter, and the continued policies on the lawn, have not adequately addressed.
First, while we are not interested in accusing individuals like Nathan Milian of racism, to the best of our knowledge, to this day the only people who have been banned, and asked not to dance are African American. Regardless of the intention of individuals involved, this is defacto discrimination.
Second, beyond racial discrimination, we believe that Carr Mill Mall is treading on dangerous ground when they begin to differentially allow people who look and act a certain way to dance, whereas others, who do not fit within their comfort zones are banned. Along with Ruffin Slater, Weaver Street Market, and Bruce Thomas himself, we agree that this issue is not about Bruce. And that it is about much larger issues. However, we differ on what those Ã¢â‚¬Å“other issuesÃ¢â‚¬Â are. We are fundamentally concerned about the kind of community we have if we allow and tacitly support discrimination. Questions about deciding what is and is not appropriate movement, what classifies as dancing and what doesn't, as well as who is and who isn't seen as violating thisÃ¢â‚¬â€raises several concerns in this regard. While we do not want jeopardize Weaver Street Lawn activitiesÃ¢â‚¬â€especially the Thursdays and Sundays events we hold dearÃ¢â‚¬â€we are not willing to support them if it means also supporting discriminatory practices.
Many others have continued to dance and they have not been asked to leave. While at the moment it might seem better to maintain some lawn privileges by hoping that we can redress these particular instances of discrimination on a case by case basisÃ¢â‚¬â€as WSM has suggested we do for BruceÃ¢â‚¬â€ we believe the implications of this approach are quite frightening. It implies that property owners who benefit from offering a quasi-public space ought to simultaneously exercise their de jure right to discriminate and choose who is and is not acceptable. Discrimination in such an environment is unacceptable.
Third, we support Carr Mill Mall's efforts to ensure public safety and a convivial atmosphere for its tenants and customers. In particular, illegal activities like public drunkenness, drug use and shoplifting should not be tolerated. However, it is not appropriate to profile certain people as being more prone to engage in these sorts of activities. This amounts to preemptive actions that, like racial profiling, often result in unwarranted harassment and discrimination. (Considering the current climate in this country and throughout the world in this regard, the presence of this behavior in Carrboro is particularly disturbing).
Fourth, the fact that the WSM lawn happens to be private property does not negate our constitutional rights. These include prohibitions against discrimination and guarantees to freedom of expression. Forty years ago, residents of this community struggled to end discrimination in public accommodations. Regardless of the legal rights of private property owners, morally and ethically as residents of this community we cannot allow Carrboro to go backward. Should Carr Mill Mall persist with the current policy, we will use our power as consumers and as residents to press for change.
Finally, while we understand that private property is something Americans hold very dear, we also recognize that it is the community that ensures the right to private property and that sustains whatever economic value such property might hold. We feel it is no small matter that the banning of these individuals is one among a number of steps Carr Mill has taken to rid the lawn of its role as the functional commons of Carrboro. Thus, we want to pose the question about how far we are willing to allow the rights of single and corporate property owners to override the collective good of the community from which they benefit.
* We are planning to have copies of this statement at the silent dance-in today, and welcome anyone else who wants to add their name to this statement.