We are not this, but we’ve been here before.

We are not this, but we’ve been here before.

The pushback to H.B. 2 is unsurprising in some ways (quick denunciations from Carrboro and Chapel Hill) and remarkable in others. From San Francisco to New York to Seattle, the boycotts are adding up. More than 80 Silicon Valley executives have called for the law’s repeal. The White House minced no words: “[W]e are concerned about the potential harmful impact of this law, especially on transgender youth, and believe it is mean-spirited

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Blending the arts and policy in Chapel Hill: “Keep the whole city in mind.”

Blending the arts and policy in Chapel Hill: “Keep the whole city in mind.”

The Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission is drafting an Arts Plan to guide the Town’s decisions in arts planning and funding for the next five years. The second of three community input sessions took place this past Saturday at the Public Library. The third is scheduled for March 14, 5:30 to 7 p.m., at Flyleaf Books. The draft Plan is scheduled to come before the Town Council by June. If you haven’t

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Community resources for jail alternatives

Community resources for jail alternatives

This weekend the new Town Council spent valuable time outlining our visions for Chapel Hill over the next 10, 15, 20 or more years. One thing that surprised us is our common assumption that the Town will need to intensify its support of human services. In 2012, our Human Services Advisory Board commissioned a study to assess these needs. Leading the list were affordable housing, affordable health care, education and family resources, jobs and job training,

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Walk with light.

Walk with light.

Who doesn’t have a story about that sign? An old English professor of mine found poetry in it. A Quaker friend says that when she came here from Earlham College, she was convinced it was put there for her. Such is its staying power in the imagination that when I posted a photo of it on Facebook, some people didn’t realize it had been missing for years. I missed it terribly. I had chalked up its downfall

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Beyond the box

Beyond the box

Ten years ago, as we worked to create the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness, we held focus groups on homelessness around the county. I’ll never forget a woman I met at one of them. She had been homeless for four years. She had been in prison before that for three. Her prison record kept her from finding work. Her lack of work kept her from finding an apartment. Here she was,

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Banned and beautiful

Banned and beautiful

Walk into the Chapel Hill Public Library and you’ll see a wall filled with imaginative book covers. The seven large ones are the winners in the third annual competition for the library’s Banned Books Trading Cards. So beautiful they all are that it’s hard to remember, at first, that the books they represent were banned, at least in one time and place. Where’s Waldo, for example. Our Bodies, Ourselves. The Grapes of

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Welcoming Greenfield Place to Chapel Hill

Welcoming Greenfield Place to Chapel Hill

For some things, apparently the second time is charm. On its second bid for low-income housing tax credits, DHIC Inc., the Triangle’s oldest and largest nonprofit housing organization, garnered an allocation of $785,000 in annual tax credits for its first project in Chapel Hill. The federal low-income housing tax credit program is “the most important resource for creating affordable housing in the United States today,” according to HUD. It has facilitated the

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The Dream of America (an Irish fable)

The Dream of America (an Irish fable)

We returned from vacationing in Scotland and Ireland Wednesday night: in time to make it Thursday to the rally in Hillsborough honoring the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and offering a crucial history lesson. Tim Tyson explained that North Carolina’s Confederate memorial statues were erected decades after the war, after the defeat of Reconstruction, to cement the new narratives of Jim Crow intimidation and violence. Laurel Ashton demolished “the lie of southern heritage” that upholds

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Atticus, uprising

Atticus, uprising

One of the most unforgettable moments of To Kill a Mockingbird comes at the end of the trial, after Atticus Finch has done his noble best to gain Tom Robinson’s acquittal. Calling her up from her seat in the “colored” balcony, Rev. Sykes admonishes, “Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passing.” This moment of reverence, and fleeting racial solidarity, is chillingly echoed at the conclusion of Go Set a Watchman. After a dramatic confrontation

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Why I voted for Obey Creek

Why I voted for Obey Creek

Monday night’s vote in favor the Obey Creek development concluded six years of analysis, exploration, discussion, deliberation, and debate. The debate over the scale of the development was in part (and no small part) about the details of the development. In part it was about something larger, and harder to define. The larger question, one articulated in various thoughtful ways, invokes the question of community character. How can a development that

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