The anti-loitering ordinance makes it a misdemeanor for any person to "stand, sit, recline, linger, or otherwise remain" on this corner "between the hours of 11 a.m. and 5 a.m." The letter from Carrboro residents highlights that this ordinance violates the First Amendment right to assembly by criminalizing mere presence in a public place. The ordinance also makes it more difficult for the predominantly Latino day laborers who gather at the corner to find work. Letter signatories urge the Board of the Aldermen to explore creative alternatives to the anti-loitering ordinance compatible with Carrboro's progressive reputation. Each of the four candidates running to fill the three open slots on the Board of Aldermen have stated their opposition to the ordinance.
"Carrboro residents are calling on the Board of Aldermen to make the corner of Jones Ferry and Davie safe again for free speech and members of our community trying to make a living," says Carrboro resident and letter author Stephen Dear. "This press conference highlights just how much the ordinance gets wrong. Petitioning your elected representatives is exactly what the First Amendment is designed to protect, yet doing so at this corner is a crime under the ordinance."
Speakers at the press conference are expected to include a day laborer, a local businessperson, and representatives from the Chapel Hill and Carrboro Human Rights Center, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and the UNC Center for Civil Rights.
Southern Coalition for Social Justice
919-323-3380 ext. 113