Advocates reflect on the North Carolina General Assembly passing the Second Chance Act, which makes it easier for people with non-violent felonies to get their records expunged.
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. Brittany McGee is an assistant city & state editor and a senior at UNC.
Violations of state or local safer-at-home recommendations could be punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and up to 60 days in jail for repeat violators, according to a statement released by the Town of Chapel Hill.
"I am not the type of person who generally makes public statements about the things I think and feel, but I do listen. I listened as other BIPOC journalism students explained their reasons to distrust writing for The Daily Tar Heel, and when other groups also expressed disillusion with how the DTH has handled covering minority communities."
Policies regarding the Women, Infants and Children Program have been adjusted due to the COVID-19 pandemic as recipients of the program struggle to find approved foods. If grocery stores run out of the specific foods that WIC recipients are able to purchase, then they may leave empty handed. “We’re concerned about the ability for WIC participants to meet their nutritional needs during this time given the absence of many staple food items at many grocery stores,” Suzy Khachaturyan, a policy analyst with the N.C. Justice Center, said.
A recent report released by the CDC implicated underlying conditions as being the main culprit for many COVID-19 deaths and also that African Americans made up a large number of hospitalizations. While local data is inconclusive for the moment, it does raise questions about how race and health are intertwined. “We cannot refer to these high rates of chronic disease without mentioning that African American communities also typically experience poverty, food deserts, gentrification, red-lining and environmental and systemic institutional racism at higher rates as well,” Kristin Prelipp, communications manager at the Orange County Health Department, said.
As the pandemic continues, it is becoming harder for students to keep up with housing payments. Some students have tried renegotiating their leases, but not all landlords have been willing to cooperate. Legal experts said landlords have different levels of flexibility, and may be unable to reduce rent or waive fees. However, they still encouraged students to discuss any issues with their landlords.
The first four cases of COVID-19 in state prisons were announced on Thursday, two days after the North Carolina Department of Public Safety increased efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus in prisons. NCDPS first issued guidance on the virus in mid-March, but a coalition of advocates is calling on the department to do more to protect inmates. “We’ve known for awhile now that our prisons and jails across the state are particularly vulnerable to an outbreak of COVID-19,” Molly Rivera, a spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, said.
In a special Chapel Hill Town Council meeting Wednesday, Town Manager Maurice Jones explained that Chapel Hill activated the Emergency Operations Center, closed many public facilities, suspended public meetings until March 30 and has moved to the Saturday route schedule in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Large grocery store chains like Trader Joe's, Harris Teeter and Whole Foods Market are making accommodations for customers and employees alike to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Chapel Ridge Apartments is an off-campus apartment complex where many UNC students live.
Ashley Harris speaks at a #RochelleBoysMatter protest and march in Durham Sept. 4, 2020. The protest was held after police allegedly drew their weapons on three boys playing in an east Durham apartment complex.
The marker to the Chapel Hill Nine depicts the demonstrators on one side, along with their names and ages. The marker was dedicated on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.
Clayton Weaver is a Chapel Hill native who was 11 years old when the Chapel Hill Nine demonstrations began. He attended the marker dedication on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.
(From left) Surviving Chapel Hill Nine members Albert Williams and James Merritt, marker artist Steven Hayes, Chapel Hill Town Manager Maurice Jones, and two other Chapel Hill Nine members Dave Mason Jr. and 'Clyde' Douglas Perry stand behind the new marker on Franklin Street. The marker was dedicated on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger spoke at the dedication of the Chapel Hill Nine marker on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.
Durham artist Stephen Hayes designed the marker commemorating the Chapel Hill Nine, a group of young men who organized a sit-in at the Colonial Drug Store on Franklin Street in 1960. The marker features images and headlines created following the sit-in. The marker was unveiled at a ceremony on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.
Michael Foushee is a Chapel Hill native who was 6 years old when the Chapel Hill Nine demonstrations began. He attended the group's marker dedication event on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.