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UNC-NAACP holds demonstration in protest of Rahsheem Holland's promotion

Acting chief of police Rahsheem Holland (center) is facing backlash after a student said he punched them at the protest on June 30.

The UNC chapter of the NAACP held a demonstration Monday afternoon in protest of Rahsheem Holland becoming the acting chief of UNC Police following David Perry's resignation.

According to an Instagram post by the UNC NAACP, the purpose of the demonstration was to stand in solidarity with those victimized by the actions of UNC Police at the June 30 Board of Trustees meeting, and to condemn Holland's promotion.

Calls for Holland’s termination began after he was appointed interim campus police chief following former Chief David Perry’s resignation last week. The Black Student Movement released a statement condemning Holland's promotion on July 6 and said Holland assaulted multiple Black students while they nonviolently protested during the June 30 meeting.

The event was held outside of South Building facing Polk Place. Around 35 people, including students, faculty and staff, attended. 

The demonstration began with remarks from UNC NAACP President Jarrah Faye, who said students at the June 30 protest were not aware or informed that the Board of Trustees meeting would go into closed session. As a result, students were pushed and punched, she said.

“I’m not surprised, and I’m sure nobody else here is, because they are known for brutalizing students, and they are known for specifically harassing Black students,” Faye said. “On south campus, where the majority of Black and brown students reside, they always oversaturate their presence.” 

Faye went on to list a few demands she said were put together by UNC-CH NAACP, BSM, Carolina Black Caucus and other activists. 

These demands included the dismissal of Holland from Campus Police, alerting students when white supremacists are on campus, more Black mental health professionals at CAPS and a memorial for James Cates Jr. paid for by the University.

Other people were then invited to speak, the first of which was Gloria Thomas, outgoing director of the Carolina Women’s Center. She said all students, faculty and staff need to feel a sense of belonging on UNC’s campus.  

“When you are mistreated and disrespected, that is a real indication of, hey, you don’t belong here,” Thomas said.

Julia Clark, vice president of BSM, then spoke on her participation in a meeting with Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz a few days before and said she received an apology for the events of June 30.

“These apologies and statements that University officials give mean nothing to us because we have yet to see any action at all,” she said. “We have presented our demands to them for more than two weeks and have not seen one action step being taken.”

Clark then referred to two white men who sat on the Unsung Founders Memorial while holding Confederate flags on Saturday. In a video tweeted by UNC Anti-Racist Alerts, which is not affiliated with the University, one of the men can be heard saying, "It would be nice to have a couple of slaves."

“White supremacists feel safer on campus than Black students,” Clark said.

The demonstration ended with a chant led by Faye. 

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

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