Racial & Economic Justice

Happy Black History Month

The Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission is opening an exhibit today at Town Hall that will include "photos, yearbooks, prom invitations, church bulletins, signs, etc., in order to highlight the people, churches, businesses, and recreational activities that have defined the African American community in Chapel Hill for decades." (CHPAC says it starts at 5:30, but I can't even find a mention on the town web site!)

Wednesday was the anniversary of the Greensboro Four's courageous action at a Woolworth lunch counter that sparked a national sit-in movement.

The Independent Weekly has a great profile on the man who thoroughly rocked us First Baptist on Martin Luther King Day: The Rev. William Barber, president of the NC Conference of the NAACP.

Immigration, Identity, and Education

The following is an announcement from the Carrboro Cybrary:

On Wednesday, February 1 at 7:00 pm, the community is invited to the Century Center for a discussion about the social, cultural, and political issues surrounding the growth of the state's Hispanic immigrant population as viewed through the context of Esmeralda Santiago's memoir When I Was Puerto Rican .

Latinos living in North Carolina face both tangible struggles involving language and education and more intangible questions of cultural identity and authenticity. The complexities of the immigrant experience are at the heart of Esmeralda Santiago's memoir When I Was Puerto Rican and are the focus of Carrboro's next Community Book Forum. On Wednesday, February 1 at 7:00 pm, the community is invited to the Century Center for a discussion about the social, cultural, and political issues surrounding the growth of the state's Hispanic immigrant population. The discussion will touch on Santiago's book, the current debate surrounding immigrants in the state's higher education system, and the experience of Latinos in our own communities.

Help Celebrate 25 years of Internationalist Books

Help celebrate 25 years of Internationalist Books:

The volunteers at Internationalist Books and Community Center openly invite the general public to participate in shaping the vision for the bookstore as we commemorate our 25th Anniversary in 2006. We are looking back on the legacy of our founder Bob Sheldon as a source of inspiration, and looking forward to the next 25 years as a dedicated center for political change. We need your help.

We're holding an interest meeting on Tuesday January 24th at 7:00pm at the bookstore to enlist those who would like to be involved in the ongoing planning effort for many programs throughout the year. We're looking for former volunteers who have been away from home for a while but would like to return to short-term service. We're looking for friends of Bob Sheldon who would like to help us carry on with his legacy. We're looking for motivated community members who are looking for new ways to champion the rights of workers, and other underrepresented groups.

MLK day events

This announcement via e-mail from Al McSurely:

I hope you will post an open invitation to everyone about the 23rd Annual Martin Luther King Service at First Baptist on Monday, January 16th at 11 am. Dr. William Joseph Barber, Jr. will be speaking on War and Poverty. He recently won the Presidency of the State Conference of the NAACP, ousting the sitting President, Skip Alston, from Greensboro in October 2005.

Dr. Barber held the Statewide Directorship of the N.C. Human Relations Commission in the early l990's. He is an outspoken opponent against the War in Iraq, and takes most of his scriptural texts from the Old Testament prophets, like Dr. King. The State Conference of the NAACP has over 80 Branches, over 15,000 members.

Dr. Barber was strongly supported by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Branch 5689, under the leadership of Fred Battle, and the Northern Orange Branch, under the leadership of Keith Cook. Dr. Barber has named Al McSurely, local civil rights attorney, as the Chair of the Legal Redress Committee.

John Edwards' views on poverty

Chapel Hill Herald, Saturday December 17, 2005

The second biggest item of national news coming from UNC this year was the return of John Edwards to direct the Law School's Program on Poverty, Work and Opportunity. Edwards is also a new resident of Orange County, one whom I hoped might offer some insight into our local efforts to address the problems of poverty. This past week I had a conversation with him on that question.

A significant issue for us over the years has revolved around efforts to site facilities to serve the poor. Edwards believes it is possible for neighborhoods and communities to become more welcoming.

"It's similar to the way I talk about this in general," he said. "[Helping] people who are struggling in poverty, it's not something we do for them, it's something we do for us. It's not them and us, it's all of us, people who are struggling want to be part of our community and we want to give them a chance to do better."

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