Molly De Marco's blog

CHTC accepting applications for vacated seat until April 22

The Chapel Hill Town Council decided last night to open the application process to fill the seat recently vacated. Applications are due April 22nd. 

The following information was sent out by the Town:

Applications Accepted for Vacant Council Seat


The Chapel Hill Town Council has established the process for filling the vacancy on the Council resulting from the resignation of former Council Member Matt Czajkowski. The Town Charter provides that this vacancy shall be filled by appointment for the remainder of Council Member Czajkowski’s term of office, until December 2015. Residents of Chapel Hill who are registered voters and otherwise qualified to hold office are invited to apply to fill this vacant seat on the Town Council.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Queries Police Chiefs and Sheriff on Racial Equity

During its regular monthly meeting, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the North Carolina NAACP hosted Chief Walter Horton of the Carrboro Police Department, Chief Chris Blue of the Chapel Hill Police Department, and Sheriff Charles Blackwood for a discussion of law enforcement issues. A diverse group of more than 50 people attended, including many members of the NAACP and other local social justice advocates. Orange County commissioner and civil rights attorney Mark Dorosin, Chapel Hill Town Council member Maria Palmer, and Carrboro alderperson Damon Seils also attended.

The NAACP solicited questions in advance and posed them to each of the three law enforcement administrators in turn, and then questions were taken from the audience via index card. The questions focused on racial disparities in police stops, searches, and arrests on our streets and in our schools; the implicit bias that contributes to those disparities; de-escalation and use of force; and how to bring complaints to the attention of law enforcement.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board Needs a Focus on Racial Equity

In a previous post, I detailed the initial steps that the Carrboro and Chapel Hill Police Departments are taking to move toward racial equity in policing. But what about other local government functions?

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education has been in the news recently because of its decisions about board composition. First, in filling the vacancy left by outgoing school board member Mia Burroughs, the school board selected a wealthy, white man, one of only two white men in a field of 15 applicants, many of whom were well-qualified women and people of color. Then, they selected two white men as chair and vice chair, passing up a woman of color who has served on the board much longer than the selected vice chair.

Local Law Enforcement Begins Hard Work Toward Racial Equity

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.

Law enforcement behavior that is disproportionately affecting communities of color is unacceptable to me. It is especially troubling to see that these disparities exist in our communities regardless of how enlightened we think we are. I am cautiously optimistic about the steps I see the Carrboro and Chapel Hill Police Departments taking.


Family Success Alliance chooses 2 communities to focus poverty fight

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. The Family Success Alliance Advisory Council developed a rubric for scoring of the applications. Below is a collection of tweets that summarize the presentations and selection process carried out on Tuesday, December 16th.



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