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Sunday January 29th

Local NAACP holds peace rally in Spencer's absence

<p>Members of the Raging Grannies, a local activist group, made an appearance at an NAACP rally in &nbsp;front of the old post office on Franklin St. Wednesday afternoon.</p>
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Members of the Raging Grannies, a local activist group, made an appearance at an NAACP rally in  front of the old post office on Franklin St. Wednesday afternoon.

On the day white supremacist Richard Spencer was slated to speak at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP held “More Perfect Union: A Community Solidarity Against Hate” on the post office plaza on Franklin Street.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP President Anna Richards said she arrived at the plaza at 10 a.m. Wednesday, and that organizations would be protesting and providing speakers throughout the day. The event ended around 6 p.m. 

“This particular day came about because Richard Spencer was supposed to be on campus today,” Richards said. “Once his permit was denied there was a concern that he might try to get another venue and so we booked this. It almost started as a counter rally, but once his permit was denied we decided to turn this into a day of peace.”

Representatives from the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom held banners promoting peace on the side of the plaza. Representative Mary Dooley said she hoped to see a turnout similar to the anti-Ku Klux Klan rally in Durham.

“It’s occupying this public space for peace against the ugliness that could have happened if we didn’t do this,” Dooley said. “We knew it wouldn’t be that many people here, but we want to show that we’re a peaceful town.”

Peggy Misch, another member of the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom and a member of Community Church of Chapel Hill, said the event was particularly important in the context of the Silent Sam demonstrations and Charlottesville protests earlier this year. 

“The campus and the town of Chapel Hill are often separated from what’s going on in the community,” she said. 

Chancellor Folt announced her decision to deny Spencer space to speak on UNC-CH’s campus earlier this month. She cited concerns about campus safety in her statement. 

Other groups that were involved included the Raging Grannies, who sang civil rights songs, and other religious groups. Campus organizations such as the Black Student Movement joined the event around 4 p.m.  

“It just shows that there are differences, but we can come together for one thing, and that is being against hate and showing unity and solidarity,” Richards said. “That’s not the last time that someone will try and come, so we’re trying to build a community of people that stand together against this. That we appreciate and welcome all in our community. We need to come together and say this as one.”

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