The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday October 16th

Rainbow flags all around: Carrboro Pride Walk honors LGBT pioneer Joe Herzenberg

Mayor Lavelle and other Carrboro officials address participants of the Pride Piper Walk on Carrboro's role in LGBT history.
Buy Photos Mayor Lavelle and other Carrboro officials address participants of the Pride Piper Walk on Carrboro's role in LGBT history.

The sounds of cheering and honking filled the humid air as a group of rainbow-clad Pride supporters marched down Carrboro's East Weaver Street. Boom Unit Brass Band provided music for the evening as walkers handed out small rainbow flags to onlookers at the Weaver Street Market.

“I think it’s important to be out here and celebrating community,” Carrboro resident Edel Cordova said. “I have celebrated Pride all of my life in many cities, but this is my first Carrboro Pride.” 

Carrboro hosted the Pride Piper Walk to celebrate LGBT Pride Month and to honor former Chapel Hill Town Council member Joe Herzenberg, the first openly-gay elected official in the South. 

Beginning at The ArtsCenter in downtown Carrboro, participants made their way to the Carrboro Century Center for the unveiling of a portrait of Herzenberg, painted by local artist Michael Brown. 


Acrylics artist Michael Brown unveiled his painting of LGBT activist Joe Herzenberg during the Pride Piper Walk in Carrboro on June 5.


“I can only say that he was a braver man and a better citizen than I will ever be,” Brown said of Herzenberg, who died in 2007. 

The painting, which will be on display at the Century Center for all of June, features an image of a young Herzenberg and a quote from Herzenberg’s diary. 

Several elected officials joined the walk, including Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle, Carrboro Aldermen Randee Haven-O’Donnell, Jacquelyn Gist, Damon Seils and former Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt. 

The walk was part of The Walls We Build project, a month-long art exhibition throughout the Triangle put on by artistUNITED, a coalition of local artists. 

“We came up with artistUNITED to tell the story of how people build walls, dismantle walls and treat each other through art,” artistUNITED co-creator Donn Young said. 

Carrboro has long been a proponent of LGBT rights. The town elected North Carolina’s first openly gay mayor in 1995 and voted to create a domestic partner registry in 1994. 

Pride Piper participants said the walk emphasized Carrboro’s inclusivity.

“In Pride, Carrboro stands alone and is fully in charge in what it means to have human rights,” Young said.

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