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.

Mother's Legal Rights Violated

I would like to thank everyone who has visited my website at and shared their stories. Here is just one:

Cheryl** is 37 years old. She is the mother of 3 children, ages 14, 7 and 14 months. Cheryl is employed full-time and lives in a 4-bedroom, 2 and 1/2 bath home on 60 acres. Orange County Child Protective Services (CPS) removed Cheryl's 3 children from her custody on January 15, 2008, alleging that her 7-year old son was locked out of the house one day and had to call his father from a neighbor's house. According to the juvenile petition filed by CPS, Cheryl is "jittery" and her behavior raises "suspicions" of a personality disorder or substance abuse. To date, Cheryl has taken 27 drug tests which have all been negative.


The other day, Jesse DeConto of the CHN posted a comment on the N&O Blog about a happening in Carrboro. It has drawn almost no response, for obvious reasons I guess.

Military recruiters in Orange County schools

I was pretty shocked to read this news:

Three students were sent to an in-school suspension classroom after refusing to take a military aptitude test at Cedar Ridge High School on Tuesday.

Principal Gary Thornburg said the students were not being disciplined, rather the in-school suspension teacher was the staff person available to supervise them.

More than 300 juniors spent two hours Tuesday and again Wednesday taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.

Thornburg said the test, which the U.S. military calls the ASVAB, is traditionally administered to juniors at his school. The military provides the tests, proctors and grading without charge. In exchange, the scores are sent to military branch recruiters and the school.

- 3 decline to take military test, 2/14/08

It turns out people are resisting these tests all around the nation:

Pauli Murray Awards Ceremony

This just in from Orange County:

Pauli Murray Awards Ceremony

The Orange County Human Relations Commission will present the Pauli Murray Awards and Human Relations Essay Contest winners from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday, February 24, 2008, at The Little Theater of New Hope Elementary School (1900 New Hope Church Road, Chapel Hill). Additionally, the student winners of the 2007 Human Relations Month Essay Contest will be acknowledged and the winners will read their essays. This annual contest is open to students from all schools in the County and offers cash awards of up to $100. During this ceremony, Durham’s Instruments of Praise Dance Ministry and The Newman Center Choir of Chapel Hill will provide entertainment.

The award is in recognition of the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray. The Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray was a remarkable woman who never let racial and gender discrimination and intolerance keep her from achieving her goals. Instead, these events were a catalyst for a life of activism. Former recipients include Rebecca Clark, Lightning Brown, Joe Herzenberg and Shirley Marshall; Balloons & Tunes (Carrboro) and Sports Endeavors (Hillsborough).

This event is free and opened to the public.

Contact: James Spivey, Orange County Human Rights and Relations (919) 968-2288



Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 10:00am to 12:00pm


The Little Theater of New Hope Elementary School, 1900 New Hope Church Road

"Monitoring Civil Rights on the Ground" & OCBORDC Meeting

From Peggy Misch:

Orange County Bill of Rights Defense Committee Friends,

In order to have two speakers talk to us and have a DVD player, I've called the meeting this month in a public room with equipment when guests are available. Please come and bring someone else.

The BORDC website ( is filled with lots of information on pending legislation. We can make a difference by contacting David Price, responding to candidates with questions when they appeal for money, writing letters to the editor.

Below details of the next meeting, I've copied some current activities in Congress, taken from BORDC's website.

You may support Tamara Tal's arraignment in Chapel Hill Courthouse (enter from the East Franklin Street Post Office), Feb 18, sometime after 9AM. The charge is "failure to disperse" from Burger King during the national campaign to support tomato pickers supplying this chain, November 30.

"Monitoring Civil Rights on the Ground": Screening by local videograher of UNC students supporting citizens of Jena, LA, during town's commemoration of MLK Day, Jan 21, 2008, and report on incident of arrest for failure to disperse at Burger King on Elliott Road Nov 20. All welcome for discussion. Orange County Bill of Rights Defense Committee, 7 PM, Feb 27, Chapel Hill Town Hall, Training Room. 942-2535.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - 2:00pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall, Training Room



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