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.

Chapel Hill Manager: Town Has Been Enforcing Incorrect Transit Advertising Policy

If you weren't paying attention at the end of the Chapel Hill Town Council meeting tonight, you might have missed some pretty shocking information. The controversial bus ad policy, the one that allowed the now-famous "end military aid to Israel" ads, was in fact not the policy adopted by Council just last year!

Here is a memo from Transit Director Steve Spade to Roger Stancil detailing the error: 

When Transit needed a copy of the policy, I went to the June 13th meeting and used the policy that was included in the packet of materials rather than the policy provided in the supplemental materials that was approved by Council. As a result we have been using the draft policy rather than the one approved by the Council. In reviewing our communication since June 2011, we have consistently applied the draft policy rather than the one approved by the Council. 

There were several edits in the policy approved by the Council, most significantly were the addition of two items in section 2.01 that excluded religious and political and social issue advertising.

Still Walking for Justice - Welcoming Rally in Chapel Hill

I'm really excited to see this event going on that will highlight several important civil rights threads in our local community, including the Journey of Reconciliation. See this post to learn more about the historic first freedom riders and how they were attacked and arrested in downtown Chapel Hill in 1947

Here's the official flyer:

STILL WALKING FOR JUSTICE

Commemorating the 65th Anniversary of the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation - The First Freedom Ride

Saturday, November 3, 2012  

10 a.m. Send Off Rally in Durham 
Corner of W. Chapel Hill & Carroll Streets
Pauli Murray Historic Marker

3:30 p.m.  Welcome Rally in Chapel Hill
Corner of W. Columbia and W. Rosemary Streets
Journey of Reconciliation Historic Marke
r

More Information: 919/613-6167
www.paulimurrayproject.org

 

Nine Teams of Women will be walking from the Pauli Murray Historic Marker in Durham to the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation Historic Marker in Chapel Hill. They will walk for Pauli Murray, Ella Baker and Juanita Nelson who helped plan the 1947 action but could not participate because of their gender. They will also walk for Virginia Williams, Joanne Preiss, Charlotte Adams & Mildred Ringwalt, Ann Atwater and Doris Lyons, local women activists whose stories we need to know. The 1947 Journey, known as the First Freedom Ride prior to the 1961 Freedom Rides, had nine white and black men. It included Bayard Rustin, use non-violent direct action to test the 1946 Irene Morgan v State of Virginia U.S. Supreme Court ruling desegregating interstate bus and train travel. 

 

Why Are We Still Walking?

The work continues. Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Queer rights, voting rights, prisoners’ rights, women’s rights, and civil rights are still on the line and require our vigilance to protect them. The Walk also shows how we can use history to activate memory and motivation for contemporary activism.

 

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
  – Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Sponsored by the Pauli Murray Project and the Bayard Rustin Centennial Project of the National Black Justice Coalition with support from the Chapel Hill Friends Meeting, the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-CH, Carolwoods Elders for Peace and the Marion Cheek Jackson Center.

http://www.nbjc.org

Date: 

Saturday, November 3, 2012 - 10:00am to 3:30pm

Location: 

Durham to Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill Carrboro YMCA waits until no one is looking, signs 1-year management agreement with the YMCA of the Triangle

Back in March, the CHCYMCA Board of Directors stated during their board meeting that all plans to merge with the YMCA of the Triangle were on indefinite hold after a commuity outcry because of the discriminatory practices of the YMCA of the Triangle.  More on this story can be found in this OP post, this post, and this post.

However, members of the Chapel Hill Carrboro YMCA received this email from the interim CEO yesterday (Oct. 18th, 2012):

Getting Everyone On Board -- Our Obligation to Children in Poverty

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund gives the 2012 Crown Lecturer in Ethics on income disparity and the state of America's poor children. Edelman, a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar. In l968, she served counsel for the Poor People's Campaign, started by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings. Her most recent book is called "The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation." The Crown Lecture in Ethics 2012 is co-sponsored by the Sulzberger Family Fund of the Center for Child and Family Policy. Free and open to the public.
Contact: Kemp, Karen 613-7394

Date: 

Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm

Location: 

Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy, 201 Science Drive, Durham, NC 27708

Chapel Hill Town Council Hears From Citizens On Bus Ad Policy

In a fairly crowded business meeting tonight, the Chapel Hill Town Council member heard from more than 30 members of the public on Chapel Hill Transit's current bus advertising policy. Contraversy around the ad was sparked by the placement of an ad by the Church of the Reconciliation urging the end of U.S. military aid to Israel. Speakers included several members of the Church of the Reconciliation, the director of the N.C. ACLU and local Jewish leaders among others.

The central question on the issue was whether the transit system consitituted a "public forum." This is important because under Supreme Court precedent regulations on speech in public forums are subject to greater scrutiny than regulations on speech in non-public forums.

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