Racial & Economic Justice

One more road renaming to go

The Chapel Hill Town Council finally bit the bullet and made this name change. Seems like this was not a great process no matter how you slice it. Next question: What should they rename Martin Luther King Street over off of Legion Road?

I'm serious. The previous MLK Street in the Public Housing neighborhood off Legion Road will need to be renamed now that Airport Road is to have the MLK moniker. I have a suggestion, though some might feel that it fails to get away from our history of naming Public Housing streets after African Americans: How about naming the street for late Councilmember Barbara Booth Powell.

Many of you may not remember Councilmember Powell, but she served in the mid 1990's until her untimely death from cancer. Barbara served on the Council with me and was an outstanding advocate for affordable housing and public housing. Her leadership was critical to the development of the Rainbow Heights public housing in Chapel Hill. Her career was spent working for the state of North Carolina in the Department of Commerce investing in affordable housing and economic development projects across North Carolina.

Workers struggle in Orange County

Guest Post by Steven Sherman

On Saturday, December 4th, community members heard powerful, disturbing testimony about why North Carolina needs collective bargaining for public sector workers. The context was a public hearing (the third in the state) held by the International Worker Justice Campaign at the Chapel Hill Public Library.

Can We End Homelessness? continued

There were a lot of people at the End Homelessness Roundtable this morning, enough to make a serious effort to organize more effective ways to provide appropriate levels of housing and services for those in need. One point that stuck with me was that our inability to provide comprehensive services for the chronically homeless in a coherent fashion is very expensive, probably costly enough to pay for a good program if we could focus the resources appropriately.

Eat Out!

Today is RSVVP Day, when almost every local restaurant gives 10% of it's profits to organizations fighting hunger, such as the InterFaith Council for Social Services. What a great excuse to indulge. Just try not to think of all those hungry families while you enjoy that steak dinner.

$15,000 - for what?

A $15K road to order, not justice

Chapel Hill Herald
Saturday, November 13, 2004
Final Edition
Editorial Section
Page 2

So, was it worth it, the $15,000 Chapel Hill just spent for two days of facilitated conversation on the renaming of Airport Road for Martin Luther King Jr.?

According to one headline, the meetings did "yield understanding." One renaming opponent, Steve Largent, said, "I think I'm being heard." Town Councilwoman Sally Greene said, "I was proud to be a part of it." Surely the committee members are to be commended for their efforts and for their willingness to grapple with a racially charged issue.

But this whole undertaking still seems to have missed the point. After all, Mayor Kevin Foy and Councilwoman Edith Wiggins did not approach their colleagues back in June to propose spending thousands of dollars so a select group of 20 Chapel Hillians could better understand racism.

No, the goal was to help with the decision on the road renaming, to obtain "recommendations for appropriate memorials to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."



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