Civil Liberties

Perhaps because of the large number of outspoken and thoughtful people in our community, we have often found ourselves at ground zero in battles over civil liberties. In the 1980's Chapel Hill elected the first openly-gay elected official in the state, but Carrboro bested that by electing North Carolina’s first out mayor a decade later.

More recently, Chapel Hill grappled with free speech issues in the wake of 9/11, approved and then dismantled red light cameras in 2003-4, and was challenged by fundamentalists over support for gay marriage in 2005.


Please see for details.Gary Kahn

Maintain and Expand Access to Early Voting in Orange County

I've been a strong advocate for early voting locations and hours in Orange County that provide adequate access for all Orange County residents in my time as a student and council member in Chapel Hill. I'm sharing below my open letter to the Board of Elections as they make decisions this week about early voting locations for this fall. Interested in making your voice heard about early voting?

Know Your Rights: Youth and Policing Forum

An event announcement from Orange/Chatham public defender James Williams:

  • Do you know how to respond to police during a traffic stop?
  • Did you know regardless of your citizenship status, you have constitutional rights?
  • Do you know you are not required to consent to a search of yourself?

Panel Discussion Moderated by Dr. Rodney Coleman

While everyone is welcome, it is being planned primarily by and on behalf of young people. It is really important to encourage our youth, particularly mid-teens to mid-twenties to attend. Representatives from the bench, bar, law enforcement, and community will be among the panelists. Refreshments will be provided.


Saturday, February 28, 2015 -
4:00pm to 6:00pm


Hargraves Community Center, 216 N. Roberson Street, Chapel Hill

Town Hall Series Starts Next Week

Starting next week, I'll be hosting a series of four Town Hall events that each focus on a different issue in our community: downtown Chapel Hill, social and environmental justice, economic development and working together in Orange County. 

I want these events to be an opportunity for residents to engage and take an active role in shaping the future of our town. All you need to bring is an open mind and ideas for how we can build a more vibrant, livable community. Here's the schedule:

2015 Human Relations Forum: Voting Rights to Equal Rights, The Continuing Struggle

2015 marks the 95th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.  Women’s Equality has been a long hard struggle against entrenched cultural, social and religious dogmas, and the 19th Amendment was a major achievement in that long story of liberation.

Though great progress has been made by and on behalf of women’s equality since then, there are still major barriers to true equity and gross affronts to the basic human rights that plague many women today.

The 2015 Human Relations Forum will celebrate the anniversary of the right to vote and will focus on the remaining barriers and some specific areas that require immediate action and attention, including economic inequities and sex trafficking.


Sunday, January 25, 2015 -
2:30pm to 6:00pm


Carrboro Century Center

Citizen Oversight of Policing in Carrboro

I'm going to be a little awkward. There is already a thread about the recent Carrboro and Chapel Hill Police Forums. I will be linking this post to that thread. But I want to set out (at boring length) what I have been advocating for since those Forums. And I don't want to clutter up the entirety of that other thread with my meanderings (as fascinating as I know you will find them!).



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This Week in Orange Politics

It'll be a busy week across Orange County this week. The Carrboro Alderfolks will discuss bicycle-friendliness and the Lloyd Farm propery mediation process, while the Chapel Hill Town Council will get an update on UNC-related development. Both school boards will review the student performance data recently released by the state, while the Hillsborough Town Board will get an update on the Colonial Inn. The county commmissioners will meet with the Mebane City Council on public transportation and the Buckhorn EDD, and will get an update on Southern Branch Library in a serperate meeting.

CHALT and the Sierra Club/Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce/WCHL will hold candidate forums for Chapel Hill candidates.

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