I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the makeup of interest groups and other constituencies in Chapel Hill lately, and how it reflects upon the diversity of our community. I focus on Chapel Hill, because, well, that’s the local entity I spend the most time following. But the same questions I ask below should be asked at any level of government, and of any organization we associate ourselves with.
It is clear from recent police forums and from experiences shared by people of color in our communities that we have a serious problem with racial equity in policing in Orange County. The most recent example is a guest column by Stephanie Perry in Sunday’s Chapel Hill News (12/21/14). Perry serves with me on the board of Orange County Justice United. We heard other stories like this during the Carrboro community forum on policing in October.
Orange County elected officials and health department staff have recongized the immediate need to address poverty in our county. As a result, the Orange County Family Success Alliance has been launched, modeled on the Harlem Children's Zone. The Orange County Health Department used health and school system data to select six zones with the highest need. More information can be found here. Each zone held community meetings to glean information for their applications. They then made short presentations and fielded questions.
Extensive mold and other serious maintenance issues, unannounced inspections, living with no water, play equipment removed, violence, disrepect by management, inability to use shared resources, children not allowed to play outside.....
Would you be surprised to know that these are just some of the complaints coming from our neighbors who live in affordable housing complexes throughout Orange County (Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough)?
We - I've lived in or near Chapel Hill, NC now for almost ten years, I can say 'We.' We are not some two-bit hokey college, out in the sticks. We are the oldest public university in the United States, and one of its largest. We have made great play of our focus on student-athletes. If our esteemed coaches did not know, they should have done. Period. But that, for me, is not the real issue.
The Chapel Hill Town Council was to continue its discussion this evening about how to fund the extension of sewer service to the Historic Rogers Road Neighborhood, in its first meeting of the 2014-2015 session. However, town staff is again recommending a continuation of the public hearing.