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The Daily Tar Heel

Peace Movements Still Strong; One Year After Attacks

But such widespread sentiment did not stop the peace movement in the community.

After Sept. 11, 2001, a number of peace protests occurred on Franklin Street and in the area. The first effort to support nonviolence after the attacks took the form of a peace vigil Sept. 12 outside of the Franklin Street post office.

An angry motorist driving past the protest shouted, "Fuck the Arabs. Kill them all," as people gathered in support of peace.

Although more incidents like that have occurred, Frances O'Halloran, an advocate of peaceful involvement, said the community -- Chapel Hill, Carrboro and the University -- is a place where people can express their viewpoints without fear.

"I'd like to think it's a liberal community," she said. "It's a safe haven -- a place where people can be themselves."

Hillsborough resident Jim Warren, a peace activist, helped mobilize a movement Sept. 23 to discourage U.S. war efforts abroad. More than 600 protesters in favor of peace gathered to hear speakers on McCorkle Place, holding signs proclaiming, "Our grief is not a cry for war" and "Wage peace."

O'Halloran brought her daughter, Emma, now 9 years old, to the peace march to expose her to the viewpoints expressed by the protesters.

"I wanted to let my daughter experience that circle of people who believed in the same things I did," she said.

Warren said people with similar ideas should participate in causes they care about. "It's important for people to get together who feel like-minded," he said.

O'Halloran said she listens to public radio with her daughter both in the morning and the evening to keep up with current events. "It surprises me -- the outlook she has," O'Halloran said. "She does express her own beliefs."

Warren said that now, one year after the attacks, many people in the area are still just as passionate, if not more so, about advocating nonviolence.

"There are people mobilizing and putting pressure on our congressional representatives," he said. "(The movement) is strong because there are a lot of people that are savvy to what's going on."

UNC senior Tara Purohit said people in the community and on campus remain active and are concerned about escalating violence and the possibility of war with Iraq.

"People are trying to stay vocal on the fact that we don't support our country going to war," she said, though Purohit also said the emotional aspect that accompanied protests closer to Sept. 11 is absent because a year has passed.

O'Halloran said protests of any kind are important because people need to be aware of issues and what's going on.

"You have your beliefs, and you can express them in your own way," she said. "It's heartening to see a blend of age, gender and culture.

"It connects members of the community."

A year after the attacks, O'Halloran said she is still committed to promoting peace and opposing U.S. war efforts overseas.

"I still firmly believe that war is not the answer," she said. "It's harmful to all living things."

The City Editor can be reached at citydesk@unc.edu.

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