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.

Rock for Reproductive Rights

Dear friends, for the fifth year in a row, Ipas is kicking of the holidays with the Rock for Reproductive Rights benefit concert.  I am thrilled that we've managed to secure not only the local talent Caitlin Cary, but also Cajun stars Michael Doucet, and Ann and Marc Savoy.  So thrilled, in fact, that I'm cutting short a trip to Africa to be back to help MC the program!

If you like good music, and you like to dance, and you value the lives of women, I hope you'll come out in December and support us -- and maybe even consider being a sponsor!

Cheers, Kirsten

Rock for Reproductive Rights

On Saturday, December 6th, Ipas will show its holiday spirit with the fifth annual Rock for Reproductive Rights benefit concert!
We're particularly excited about the 2008 lineup. The evening will begin with the incomparable Caitlin Cary. "Rock, country, soul and folk smoothly blend together with Cary's gorgeous vocals serving as the unifying force," says entertainment reviewer Michael Berick. Caitlin is a founding member of the band Tres Chicas, and has recorded several tantalizing duets with Thad Cockerell. This will be the second time Caitlin has leant her voice to Ipas's cause – Tres Chicas mesmerized the audience during the 2005 Rock for Reproductive Rights.

Next we'll break out our Mardi Gras beads and our best swamp dancin' shoes for the Savoy Doucet Cajun Band, featuring Michael Doucet, the Grammy award-winning lead singer and fiddler from Beausoleil, and Ann and Marc Savoy, both Louisiana musicians. In 2005, Doucet was one of 12 recipients of the National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA award, which recognizes artistic excellence, cultural authenticity and an artist's contributions, is the highest honor in U.S. folk and traditional arts. OffBeat magazine has described Ann Savoy as "cajun music's cultural ambassador." She plays cajun music in the movie, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and produced a Grammy-nominated recording of cajun music that includes performances by Linda Ronstadt and John Fogerty. Ann and accordionist-husband Marc — also an NEA Heritage Fellow— perform around the world. Marc's performances include three presidential inaugurations and shows at the John F. Kennedy Center, the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and the Newport Folk Festival. He also appeared in the PBS documentary, "American Roots."

Ipas works around the globe to increase women's reproductive rights and to save women's lives in places where abortion is illegal or inaccessible. With local, national and global partners, Ipas strives to ensure that women can obtain safe, respectful and comprehensive abortion care, including counseling and family-planning services. Ipas trains health-care providers to improve health services, promotes appropriate technologies and works with policymakers and advocates to improve health policies and practices.

We hold the concert each year to raise money for our work and to educate the local community about unsafe abortion and the toll it takes on women and on their families and communities. The World Health Organization estimates that almost 70,000 women die from unsafe abortions each year, and five million are injured.

Tickets can be purchased by calling the ArtsCenter at (919)929-2787 or online at the ArtsCenter website.

You can support Ipas by sponsoring the concert with a tax deductible contribution. Concert sponsors who donate $50 or more will receive two complimentary tickets to the concert. We appreciate your support. Click here to make a donation.


Saturday, December 6, 2008 - 3:00pm


ArtsCenter, 300 East Main St, Carrboro

On Civil Rights & Marriage Equality. One last chance to fight back.

Donate by Sunday at midnight to have your donation matched. Out of state interest groups have flooded in millions of dollars to try to pay away gay marriage as a state's right for CA, & they're winning, but not by much. If marriage equality ceases to exist to CA, a center for the gay rights movement, then it could just as easily be stripped away in CT & MA. If that happens I, & many others will never have a chance to be married in our lifetimes. This will be decided on election night, & early voting is already underway in CA. The donation has to happen now to have a chance to be used to change minds in time. Have you ever wondered, if I had been an adult during the early days of the struggle for civil rights regardless of race, & of women's rights/suffrage, would I have taken action or sat on the sidelines?

Well this civil rights struggle is going on right now, this vote in CA is the battleground it is going to be fought on, & this is your last chance to move off the sidelines.

Marriage Equality & this Election

*Commentary Playing on WCHL1360 Local Radio this week*

This is Jake Goad, I'm a Chapel Hill resident, and I've got something to say.

It's time as a community to get serious about LGBT equality. We can all take a stand through simple acts, like asking our employers to include sexual orientation in the non-discrimination clause of their employee manuals—which I did at my own workplace in Carrboro. We can support local chapters of groups like the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign, and Equality NC. And we can support fair-minded candidates like Kay Hagan for Senate and Barack Obama for President, both of whom have campaigned right here in Chapel Hill.

We've already seen domestic partnerships established and a gay mayor elected in this area. But we have to go further than that. It is time for marriage equality.

To those on the left who would say "too soon, wait for a more convenient season"—I call to mind the words of Dr. King. "We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring

Women, Power and Change (Women's Agenda Assembly)

The Orange County Commission for Women is co-sponsoring the event with local organizations as part of North Carolina Women United's "Women's Agenda Assembly process."

The 2008 Agenda Assembly marks the 20th anniversary of these events in North Carolina. Across the state, women hear from local experts on issues like health care, education, the economy, equal political representation, immigration and violence against women. Participants discuss the issues, prioritize them, and set the agenda for policies addressed by local and state leaders. It's democracy at its best; your voice will count! Our goal is to include over 100 women in the process this year.

  • >What:2008 Women's Agenda Assembly: "Women, Power, Change"
  • When: Thursday, October 2, 6:00-9:00pm
  • Where: Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.

Candidates and community organizations are invited to attend and bring information to share. The event is non-partisan.Pre-registration is encouraged. Fill out the form. Distribute the flyer via your networks.

Food served starting at 6:00pm. Speakers start at 6:30pm and include experts from across Orange County and the Triangle area.

Transportation is provided from Hillsborough. Simultaneous interpretation to Spanish also provided. Registration is FREE. Contact Pam Reynolds at 919-960-3875 for more information or to turn in a registration form.


Thursday, October 2, 2008 - 2:00pm


Southern Human Services Center 2501 Homestead Rd, Chapel Hill

Community Book Forum: Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights

The Carrboro Cybrary and Carrboro Recreation and Parks invite the community to read the UNC Summer Reading selection, Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights by Kenji Yoshino, and join us for a discussion with a panel of local experts.


Lydia Lavelle, Carrboro Alderman and NCCU Professor of "Sexual Identity and the Law"

Ian Palmquist, Director, Equality NC

Yuri Yamamoto, NCSU Professor


“In Covering, Yoshino deftly blends autobiography and legal reasoning to make a case for the profound importance of individualism, autonomy, and self-expression in our conceptualization of civil and political rights. By introducing sociologist Erving Goffman's notion of "covering" — how people are formally or informally coerced into toning down stigmatized identities, even when such identities are known — into the legal lexicon, Yoshino has both broadened and calibrated more finely the way we think and talk about identity politics and civil rights.

Yoshino, who is Japanese-American and gay, draws much on his own identity markers in Covering, but the overall thesis is applicable to any and all people whose identities, for one reason or another, are subject to stigma and who, as a result, are prone to "covering" behaviors. In Yoshino's view, such behaviors — based on differences in race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability status, etc. — are not only harmful psychologically to those forced to cover, but also morally impoverishing to socially-dominant groups, and threatening to the civil rights of us all. In calling for broad social acceptance of individuality and self-expression, Yoshino challenges us to think more clearly about who we are and about what constitutes true equality, social justice, and human dignity.”

— Peter A. Coclanis
Chair, Carolina Summer Reading Program Committee




Monday, September 22, 2008 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm


Century Hall, Carrboro Century Center, 100 N. Greensboro St.



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