The Carrboro Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Wednesday to adopt a resolution in response to violence in Charlottesville, V.A.
Over 40 Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents attended the special meeting arranged by board members Bethany Chaney and Jacquelyn Gist.
The resolution calls on the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal legislation that bans communities from taking down Confederate monuments. The Alderman also ask the N.C. Senate to stop a bill that would give drivers immunity if they cause injury to protestors; Governor Roy Cooper echoed the same sentiments for legislators to "kill" the bill.
Nine Carrboro and Chapel Hill residents spoke in support of the Aldermen's resolution, and urged to not only recognize racism in the community but also to educate residents about the lessons learned from Confederate statues, including UNC’s Silent Sam.
Penny Rich, a member of the Orange County Board of Commissioners, said the Commissioners are currently planning to make a statement in the near future. As a Jewish mother of two young men, she tearfully said, it’s her job to teach them history and hate.
“This is the first time in their adult life that they feel hated because of who they are,” Rich said. “It just breaks my heart, and it’s not only for them — it’s for every black kid who wakes up in America and feels hate every day, it’s for every brown kid that wakes up in America that came here for a better life, it’s for every gay kid in America that wants to kill themselves instead of face another day of discrimination. What is happening to our country, and how can we change this ugly course of history?”
Aldermen Damon Seils praised the Carrboro residents that attended the protests in Charlottesville. The community is out there doing the important work, he said.
“I had a conversation shortly after Charlottesville via text message with a friend of all of ours who moved away recently, and we were talking about how upsetting it is that those of us who are white seem to need such horrible reminders before we stand up and do simple things like this,” Seils said.
Former Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt released a statement on Facebook Tuesday evening, calling for the town of Chapel Hill to “join the chorus” of towns aligning support with Charlottesville.
“The events of Saturday are of course troubling to every American, but the similarities between our two communities remind us here that those events could have as easily occurred in Chapel Hill,” Kleinschmidt stated. “I know that condemnation of the neo-nazis and white nationalist are coming from all points, but I vividly remember the kind words expressed to me when we experienced hateful events in the past and would expect similar sentiments to be expressed in the wake of Saturday's events.”
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said she supports Charlottesville and their Mayor, Michael Signer, in a statement released Wednesday morning.
“Recognizing that we may not be immune from such an assault upon our own community for upholding the values that we share, it is important to make it clear that, although we support First Amendment rights, we will not tolerate hatred, bigotry, racism or violence,” Hemminger stated.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.