Racial & Economic Justice

Chapel Hill can't find a public housing representative for Central West Committee

I just sent the following to the Chapel Hill Town Council:

I see that on your agenda tonight is a recommendation to expand the Central West committee by one member and to appoint a specific person to that committee. I haven't seen anyone make the case that the original formulation of the committee was faulty. The number and type of constituents as well as the specific individuals that you already appointed have been publicly discussed and agreed upon.

I believe the Town should either work hard to find someone from the public housing community, or leave the seat vacant until you do. I see no reason to make this change other than to oil a very squeaky wheel. I hope you have a higher standards for policy changes than this.

Thanks for your consideration.

The recommendation in question is this: http://chapelhillpublic.novusagenda.com/Bluesheet.aspx?itemid=2076&meetingid=195

Learn more about the Central West Focus Area at http://www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=2020

Chapel Hill and Carrboro Should Send Gig.U RFP Back to Drawing Board

The Town of Chapel Hill and the Town of Carrboro should not authorize their managers to continue with the Gig.U (aka North Carolina Next Generation Network [NCNGN]) initiative at this time. Both elected bodies should direct staff to send the request for proposals (RFP) back to the drawing board for repairs.

The primary reason to reject the current RFP is that local governments could not enforce important parts of agreements that could come from a resulting contract. Municipalities all over North Carolina have been stripped of any legal authority to franchise or regulate either cable or broadband systems. This is important because, as the current RFP is structured, this is how the towns would make sure we all have access to a new fast network.

Punishment and Policing In Our Schools Forum

This forum, organized by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Citizens Advocating for Racial Equity and co-sponsored by the Community Education Collaborative, the Chapel Hill Town Council's Justice in Action Committee, and the UNC Center for Civil Rights, will feature Orange County Commissioner Mark Dorosin giving the keynote address. Orange County Public Defender James Williams will give opening and closing remarks, and a panel of experts and community will discuss school discipline laws and policies, policing, and their effects on students and families in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and brainstorm possible solutions.

Date: 

Saturday, February 2, 2013 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Location: 

Carrboro Century Center

Donate to Buy Laptops for Abbey Court Kids

Over the years you may have read my posts here on OP about equal access to the Internet. It was my volunteering with AmeriCorp and the Town of Chapel Hill that really motivated me. Here is my donation letter I'm sending to friends about my latest effort. Please consider giving this holiday season to buy laptops for kids in Abbey Court (a.k.a. Collins Crossing).

Dear Friends,

Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton and Orange Networking are raising $3,000 to provide laptops for fifteen kids at Abbey Court. Can you help us? We want to close the digital divide for fifteen families who currently have no computer at home. Please give whatever you can by clicking here. If you prefer to donate via check please make it out to ‘Orange Networking’. (Let me know in the comments and I'll send you the address to mail a check to.)

Civil rights advocates call for diversity in school reassignment

Mark Dorosin - who is the managing director of the UNC Center for Civil Rights, a father of three, and a recently sworn-in in Orange County Commissioner - has written a letter to the Chapel Hill Carrboro School Board about the current school reassignment discussion. I couldn't agree with him more about the thinly veiled racism in the sudden clamor for "community schools." A term which is still fully tainted by the Republican takeover of the Wake County School Board, and rings hollow in suburban Chapel Hill where almost no schools are realistically walkable.

“Unless our children begin to learn together, there is little hope that our people will learn to live together.”  Thurgood Marshall

Dear Chairperson Brownstein and Members of the Board of Education:

As you begin to discuss the various redistricting options, I urge you to make racial and socio-economic diversity the highest priority in the redistricting criteria under consideration.  As the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board, like its peers across the state, continues to work to improve student achievement and close the gap between white and minority students’ test scores, it is critical that every available resource be utilized.  These resources include, in addition to technology, books and high quality teachers, students and families. Extensive social science research demonstrates that students learn from their peers, and that racial and socio-economic diversity among students enhances that learning.   All students, regardless of their individual socio-economic status or race, achieve at higher levels in socio-economically diverse schools.

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