The Orange County Human Relations Commission held its 2019 annual community discussion on Monday night. This year, the conversation centered around what the Constitution says about citizens’ rights in times of protest and the understanding of American liberties.
The discussion featured three panelists: legal expert and UNC Law School professor Theodore Shaw, Orange County Commissioner Mark Dorosin and activist-entrepreneur Stephanie Perry-Terry. Allison Mahaley, vice chairperson of Hillsborough's Human Relations Commission, facilitated the discussion.
At the start of the event, all three speakers expressed their appreciation and respect for Julius L. Chambers, a well-known civil rights lawyer and former UNC Law School student. In addition to his activism, Chambers is known to have endured firebombings of his house, office and car throughout his fight against racial segregation.
In her opening remarks, Perry-Terry honored Chambers’ legacy by quoting his famous line, “Just keep fighting.” She went on to advocate for the importance of one’s freedom to speak their truth, asserting that to deny this right is to make way for inequity and injustice. As an activist, Perry-Terry has fought, and plans to continue fighting, for equality and change.
“It is my firm belief that we were not simply born to inherit and maintain the world that we awaken and find ourselves in," Perry-Terry said. "In fact, I believe it’s just the opposite. We are born to awaken to a world that we can consider on, reflect on, act on, and then improve on. We can do this in relationship with others to make a better (world) and ultimately to transform the world that we find ourselves in. When we do this individually and collectively, life feels more abundant and powerful, but when we don’t do this, life can be filled with drudgery, despair and powerlessness."