“What is going on with Silent Sam, what is going on this political and social climate, it is a lot of polarization and isolation,” said Sloan Taylor, the media coordinator of the NAACP. “But through Wilson Caldwell and through people like Wilson Caldwell — so not just him, but the others who were dedicated to service — we learn how much we can do and how much can happen when things come together.”
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger and chairperson of the Carolina Black Caucus OJ McGhee gave remarks at the memorial along with two student spoken work performances.
McGhee discussed the history of race relations at UNC and the country.
“There are a lot of things working on our campus and in our community, but there’s always room for improvement,” McGhee said.
Following the memorial service, panelists discussed the state of race relations on campus and the challenges Black students face at UNC, with representation being a main concern.
“A lot of students of color here on this campus, we feel like we are pawns for diversity,” said Mistyre Bonds, panelist and student activist.
Bonds explained her concern with the issue of representation, noting that less than 15 percent of the student population is Black, but much of the promotional material for the University, including the "For All Kind" campaign banners, show Black individuals — disproportionate to the actual population.
The panelists also discussed race-relations in education as well as potential ways to make progress on campus.
Panelist Delores Bailey, executive director of EmPOWERment, Inc., said building relationships and working together as a community is essential to making progress, and was saddened by the struggles UNC student activists face, like not using Heelmail accounts to discuss activism efforts.
“I did not know it existed and now it just makes me want to organize even harder around breaking down those barriers and us working together to make it happen," Bailey said after hearing the concerns and challenges of some of the student panelists.
Tiffany Mosher, who works for TABLE, said she valued the open discussion about race relations and how one can make a difference in their community.
“I’ve taken from this that we need to get past thinking just because we’re white we can’t make a difference in the Black community.”