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.

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.

Date: 

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

Location: 

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:

Issue: Downtown Chapel Hill
When: Wednesday, Feb. 25th at 5:30 p.m.
Where: DSI Comedy, 62 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Click here to see full event details and RSVP for the downtown Chapel Hill Town Hall.

Issue: Social and Environmental Justice
When: Saturday, Feb. 28th at 1 p.m.
Where: Rogers Road Community Center, 101 Edgar Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

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.

Date: 

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

Location: 

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!).

As the above link to the forums make clear, a number of us in Carrboro want the establishment of a Citizen's Task Force, to be given the responsibility thoroughly to review policing in Carrboro, and, if thought necessary, make recommendations. I have my own thoughts about what I would like such a Task Force to address. But my main purpose is to help to create the space where citizens of Carrboro may have the opportunity to ensure that the policing approach in their community has their consent.

I set out in more detail here why I think we need a Citizen's Task Force.

Chapel Hill and Carrboro Citizens' Police Forums

This coming Saturday (October 4) and next Monday (October 6), Chapel Hill Police and Carrboro Police respectively, along with representatives from their funding agencies, will be holding Public Forums, at which citizens will be invited to offer thoughts on the way they wish to be policed. I will be unable to attend the Carrboro Forum as I will be working. But I have written a letter to the organizers, a letter which is (amazingly) quite self-explanatory:

"Dear Carrboro Alderpeople, Chief Horton and David Andrews [Carrboro Town Manager],

I understand there is to be a Public Forum on Policing in Carrboro, held on October 6, at 7.00pm. I will not be able to attend, as much as I have expressed interest in this subject.

I am a shift worker, and like most shift workers, I need at least three weeks notice to be able to accommodate events to my work schedule.

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