The OC Voice is a portion of the OC Report newsletter where local residents may have a platform to talk about local issues they care about.
Heather Redding is an Orange County activist and founder of Hillsborough Progressives Taking Action, a grassroots community that organizes around equity and justice.
The dismantling of white supremacy is occurring both literally and figuratively across North Carolina. Keeping alight the torch of past civil rights leaders and activists, anti-racists are toppling Confederate monuments, banning hate symbols in local public schools and renaming buildings bearing the names of white supremacists. New memorials are being erected to contextualize spaces where racial violence occurred, and governing bodies are being asked to take firm stances on racial equity issues.
While we are certainly moving in the right direction, we cannot afford to take victory laps. The mere removal of a racist monument or marker or the banning of a hate symbol is not a true victory unless done in the spirit of racial justice and followed through with other concrete actions.
For example, the Hate Free Schools Coalition spearheaded a dress code policy change in Orange County schools, which was followed by the election of new progressive school board members, the creation of an Equity Task Force and the passing of an equity policy. Their work to protect students has continued long after the Orange County School Board banned Confederate flags and hate symbols from its classrooms, as has their community-driven momentum.