This weekend: “March for a Hate-Free Hillsborough”

Last week, armed members of the Ku Klux Klan rallied in Hillsborough, where they were quickly outnumbered by local counter-protesters.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office announced its intention to arrest some of the demonstrators for carrying firearms in a political demonstration. However, as of Friday — six days after the demonstration — there had yet to be any arrests.

On Saturday, anti-racists in Hillsborough are organizing a “March for a Hate-Free Hillsborough” event.

From the group’s announcement:

As many of you know, the Ku Klux Klan held a rally in Hillsborough on Saturday, August 24th. Since, they have reported to Spectrum News that they plan to return this weekend. We believe that this is a direct response to our press conference and rally held on August 10th and an escalation in tactics by the flaggers who have been terrorizing downtown Hillsborough.

We, as a community, must stand together in bold opposition to this hate, violence, and intimidation and let the Klan and the people who come every weekend to the street corners of Downtown Hillsborough waving the same flag, that they are not welcome here.

We ask you to join us as we take the streets of downtown Hillsborough. We will meet at the Old Slave Cemetery and march to the courthouse.

We have reached out to organizations and anti-racist leaders in the community to link arms with us in this fight against white supremacy. As our list of speakers and co-sponsors grows, we will update you here. If you or your organization would like to join our efforts, please reach out to us at

The following is a list of our co-sponsors:

Northern Orange NAACP
Raleigh-Apex NAACP
The Progressive Democrats of Orange County
Native American Democratic Auxillary Caucus
North Carolinians Against Gun Violence
NC Justice Center
Carolina Jews for Justice
Down Home NC: Alamance Chapter
Orange County Democratic Party
Triangle SURJ
Justice for DeAndre Ballard
Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Triangle Branch

The following is a list of speakers:

LaTarndra Strong, Hate-Free Schools Coalition
Heather Redding, Hillsborough Progressives Taking Action
Patricia Clayton, Northern Orange NAACP
Gerald Givens, Jr., Raleigh-Apex NAACP
Crystal Cavalier, Native American Democratic Auxillary Caucus
David Serginey, Native American Democratic Auxillary Caucus
Jason Campos Keck, Native American Democratic Auxillary Caucus
Wes McMahon, North Carolinians Against Gun Violence
Miguel Staten, Justice for DeAndre Ballard


More event info here.


Website highlights political, financial connections of UNC Board of Governors

A new website and social media campaign is highlighting the political and financial connections of members of the UNC Board of Government.

The site, Meet the BOG, was crafted by left-leaning non-profit Real Facts NC in order to publicize what the group says is the increased politicization, conflict and corruption on the board.

“The UNC System has long been a national model for public higher education, and furthermore is an economic engine that fuels North Carolina’s reputation for being a leader in the south,” said Daniel Gilligan, Executive Director of Real Facts North Carolina. “It’s essential to uncover why the current leadership of the system is characterized by personal in-fighting, profiteering, and mismanagement.”

The site includes brief biographies of all of the board’s 26 members and the ability to sort them by categories like political affiliation (22 Republicans, four unaffiliated), whether they were appointed by the N.C. House or N.C. Senate, which are former lawmakers, which are lobbyists and real estate developers.

Under the “Follow the Money” tab on the website there are breakdowns of campaign contributions from board members to the North Carolina Republican Party, N.C. Senate President Phil Berger and N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore as well as former Gov. Pat McCrory and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.

The site also details various board controversies, from its handling of the controversy over and eventual toppling of the “Silent Sam” Confederate monument to the ouster of East Carolina University Chancellor Cecil Staton and resignations of UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt and UNC System President Margaret Spellings.

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Armed KKK members demonstrate in Hillsborough, are outnumbered by anti-racist protesters

Armed Ku Klux Klan members carrying Confederate and Klan flags and banners rallied in front of the Orange County Courthouse in Hillsborough on Saturday.

The Klan members were quickly outnumbered by anti-racist counter-protesters.

Despite open-carrying pistols, none of the KKK demonstrators were arrested under either laws against carrying weapons to political demonstrations or “going armed to the terror of the public.”

State lawmakers and the Mayor Tom Stevens took to Twitter to make statements on the rally.

In a public statement on the rally, the Town of Hillsborough said the Klan members did not have a permit for their demonstration

“Over the past few months, small groups of two to five people have been coming to Hillsborough from time to time and holding Confederate flags on public sidewalks,” the statement said. “The Hillsborough Police Department manages these demonstrations on a case-by-case basis. Today, officers worked with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to monitor and manage the demonstrations.”

Mayor Pro Tem Jennifer Weaver emphasized that a much larger number of community members demonstrating against the Klan showed up to oppose them before the crowd finally dispersed around 6:30 p.m.

Anti-racist demonstrators released a joint statement on the demonstration in which they criticized law enforcement’s lack of action to curb armed demonstrations by white supremacist groups.

“Antiracist activists maintain that demonstrations by armed white supremacists, such as the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Hillsborough on 24 August and the Klan-affiliated Heirs to the Confederacy in Chapel Hill on 20 August, are only possible due to protection offered to these white supremacists by local law enforcement,” the statement said.

Photographer Daniel Hosterman captured images showing the KKK demonstrators interacting with police while armed.

Many observers have noted that the Loyal White Knights banner encouraged people to “Help make America great again” by joining the Klan.

The slogan was popularized by President Donald Trump’s political campaign.


Researching and spotlighting UNC’s history of honoring white supremacists

This week students and community activists at UNC-Chapel Hill celebrated the first anniversary of the toppling of the Confederate monument known as “Silent Sam.”

But students took the opportunity to expand on anti-racist efforts at UNC-Chapel Hill beyond the controversial statue — and the racial history of UNC that makes those efforts necessary.

Danielle Dulken, a PhD student at UNC-Chapel Hill, has made her full speech from the campus tour available online. It systematically lays out the history of honoring white supremacists and slave owners on campus through the naming of campus buildings and landmarks while prominent UNC personalities of the same era who were abolitionists are all but ignored.

Dulken credits extensive UNC student history research for the public history site Names in Brick and Stone , University Libraries and The Carolina Story: A Virtual Museum of University History for making her part of the tour possible.

Her speech was accompanied by students holding 28 placards with the names of slave owners and avowed white supremacists whose names adorn buildings and landmarks on the Chapel Hill campus.

From the piece:

Before going deep into examples across campus, Dulken tells the story of the former Saunders Hall, named for UNC trustee and Ku Klux Klan leader William Saunders. Rejecting calls to rename the hall for black author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, the university instead rechristened it “Carolina Hall” in 2015. The university trustees then imposed a 16 year moratorium on renaming buildings.

Many students on campus still insist on calling the building Hurston Hall.

The moratorium, which still stands, has put UNC-Chapel Hill behind a number of other universities in addressing its racial history, Dulken said. It means that while East Carolina University and UNC-Greensboro have removed North Carolina governor Charles B. Aycock’s name from buildings on their campus in view of his leadership of a turn-of-the-century white supremacy movement, UNC-Chapel Hill has not.

Read the whole thing here.


Lawmakers, citizens speak out against Affordable Care Act lawsuit

Lawmakers joined patient advocates and people sharing personal health care stories Wednesday to speak out against the the Trump administration lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

The event, held outside Sen. Thom Tillis’ office in downtown Raleigh, was part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour, which seeks to highlight what the group says is the danger to more than 100 million Americans protected by the ACA.

“If the Trump administration and the coalition of Republican-led states backing this suit have their way, the courts will do what President Trump and the U.S. Senate have tried and failed to do — overturn the Affordable Care Act,” said Felicia Burnett, Healthcare Director for MomsRising.

“This will threaten protections for 130 million people living with pre-existing conditions,” Burnett said. “People like me, many of you and moms all across this country.”

Burnett shared the story of her son Ethan, who was born with a vascular tumor that required chemotherapy and an external port placed in his heart that needed constant monitoring to avoid infection. Burnett had to leave her job and forego her health insurance to care for him.

“I am one of countless parents in North Carolina who can say that our Medicaid program literally save my child’s life,” said Burnett.

But once Ethan got better, Burnett found it difficult to find insurance on the individual marketplace because she had a pre-existing condition and a gap in coverage.

The Affordable Care Act changed all that, she said. Insurance companies could no longer refuse to offer coverage to her family because of she and Ethan’s pre-existing conditions.

But that guarantee — that Americans won’t find themselves denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition — isn’t the Affordable Care Act’s only virtue, Burnett said. It also prevents insurers from charging women more than men for coverage, prevents caps that deny coverage when patients who have paid into their plan need it most and allows young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance coverage until age 26.

“If the Trump lawsuit succeeds, all that goes away,” Burnett said. “More than 20 million Americans — including a half a million North Carolinians — will lose their health insurance.”

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