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.

Rosa Parks Rememberance

From yesterday's N&O:

Fred Battle remembers having to sit in the back of the bus. So he and the local NAACP are hosting a bus-ride tribute to the late Rosa Parks on Thursday, the 50th anniversary of her refusal to give up her seat.

"Most people are not even familiar with the history of the Montgomery bus boycott," Battle said. "This is our attempt to not only pay tribute to what's happening in the present but also to educate people."

All are welcome to board Chapel Hill Transit buses at 11 a.m. at the Hargraves Community Center, 216 N. Roberson St. [MAP] The buses will travel down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and then head to the Franklin Street post office, where a rally will begin at noon with Battle and civil rights lawyer Al McSurely.

What are the Really Free Market Signs made of?

Yesterday I was walking around Carrboro and Chapel Hill checking out the local candidates yards signs. Amongst all the political signs I noticed a sign not advertising a campaign. They were apparently home made signs letting us know about the Really Free Market, a "free event, where all are encouraged to give, receive, and create on their own terms."

I got closer to admire the hand cut spray paint stencil lettering, just as I would with a painting to determine its technique. Then I noticed behind the thinly painted white background was another sign. It was a school board candidate's yard sign repurposed! Knowing this I looked closer at more Really Free Market signs and noticed that other candidates yards signs had been altered this way too.

Pollitt on Roberts

This announcement comes from Lucy Lewis via Joe Straley:

Subject: Dan Pollitt speaks out on Roberts nomination

Dear Friends,

Please help circulate info about this event to friends and listservs that you think would be interested - thanks! Hope to see you there.- Lucy

Dan Pollitt Speaks Out on Roberts Nomination to Supreme Court

Daniel Pollitt, Kenan Emeritus Professor of Law at UNC-CH, will present a talk on the nomination of John Roberts, Jr. to the US Supreme Court, on Sunday, August 14 at 11:45 am at the Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist, 106 Purefoy Road. Discussion will follow. Pollitt is an expert on constitutional law, and a former president of the NC branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. This program is being presented by the Charles M. Jones Peace and Justice Committee of the Community Church. The public is invited to attend. Free childcare is available by calling in advance. For more info, contact Lucy Lewis, 929-5983.

Common Sense launches gay rights project

Chapel Hill Herald, Saturday July 16, 2005

The Raleigh-based Common Sense Foundation has launched a research and advocacy project to increase awareness of the many struggles faced by North Carolina's LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community. This fall they will release a comprehensive study on the laws and policies affecting LGBT North Carolinians.

Issues to be addressed include adoption, child custody, marriage, visitation rights, gender identity, crimes against nature laws, employment/ housing/health care discrimination, harassment, hate-crime legislation and HIV/AIDS. For heterosexuals, many of these issues, the first few in particular, are matters that we take for granted.

Many of us are privileged in that we do not have to think about our sexual orientation, just as many do not have to think about their race, religion or gender. But in matters of fundamental rights, there should be no privileged class. Unfortunately, the LBGT community in North Carolina is being discriminated against in nearly all aspects of public and private life.

State election reform needed

Guest Post by Katrina Ryan

While in Washington DC about a month ago, I attended a seminar that was sponsored in part by the 21st century democrats . It was a talk given by three mathematicians.

Davis Annick, an associate from MIT, Sam Wang of Princeton, and David Dill of Stanford took several factors including exit poll variances, early vote pattern variances, historical undecided voter patterns and new voter registration statistics into consideration. The conclusion was absolutely astounding to me. They calculated the odds against last year's federal elections being accurate at 247 million to 1. (Disclaimer Math is not my forte, but I do know that odds like that make the lottery look good. I'd link to the research for specifics, but it's under peer review.)

Dr. Dill mentioned, as he has before, that North Carolina has one of the most severe election problems in the country, citing, amongst other things, the 4400 votes that "disappeared" in Carteret County.



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