Town of Chapel Hill

What Would It Take to Heal the Wounds of Racism in Chapel Hill?

What Would it Take to Heal the Wounds of Racism in Chapel Hill?

Justice in Action Committee Event

Tuesday, November 17, 2009, 7-9 pm, Hargraves Center

Program Goals and Objectives:

  1. Recognize how we in Chapel Hill take for granted our own biases and how that affects our behavior
  2. Challenge our comfort zone by calling attention to how racism and predudice affect us all
  3. Challenge ourselves to recognize our own perspectives and to open ourselves to the perspectives of others
  4. Identify how our differences unite and bind us together
  5. Explore ways to engage in racial healing in our community


  • Welcome, Mayor-Elect Mark Kleinschmidt (invited)
  • Introduction, Andre Wesson, Justice in Action Committee Chair
  • Panel Discussion of "What Would It Take to Heal the Wounds of Racism in Chapel HIll?" 
    Participants include:
    • Tony Asion, Executive Director, El Pueblo
    • Takiyah Baptist, Teacher, Ephesus Elementary School
    • Chris Blue, Assistant Chief, Chapel Hill Police Department
    • Jan Boxill, Director, Parr Center for Ethics
    • Augustus Cho, Mayoral Candidate 2009
    • Kevin Hicks, Chapel Hil-Carrboro NAACP
    • CJ Suitt, Coach of the Sacrificial Poets
    • Vanessa Oniboni, V-day Activist and Director of Warmikunaq
  • Community Dialogue and Question and Answer Session, Moderated by Dan Pollitt, Kenan Professor of Law Emeritus, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Community "Brainstorming" Session, Facilitated by Members of the Justice in Action Committee


The Fairth and Politics Institute and The Search for Common Ground held a national racial healing workshop that addressed the question, "What would it take to heal the wounds of racisim in America?"  This question is important not only at the national level, but also at the local level.  The Justice in Action Committee chose the question, "What would it take to heal the wounds of racisim in Chapel Hill?", to help our community identify paths for racial healing and concrete strategies for reducing racism and prejudice. 

Six invited panelists will deliver a five minute prepared response to the question, " What would it take to heal the wounds of racism in Chapel Hill?".  These response will be followed by a brief intra-panel question and answer session.  Once completed, the audience will be invited to ask questions and to make contributions to the dialouge.  Throughout the discussion, Justice in Action Committee members will be recording suggestions for racial healing on large pieces of paper posted around the auditorium.  After the event, audience members will be invited to add suggestions to the pieces of paper.  The suggestion will be used in the planning of a follow-up event. 

Background Information:

The mission of the Justice in Action Committee is "To adequately and effectively reflect the Town of Chapel Hill's integrity and commitment to preserving racial, economic, and social justice within the community."  In 2008, the Committee discussed ways to re-energize and expand their work.  This is the third of a series of community events hosted by the Justice in Action Committee.  The success of the Committee's work depends upon community involvement and input.  Please share your ideas for Chapel Hill's future with us.  If you have future program ideas and/or are interested in getting involved with the Justice in Action Committee, please contact our staff liasion, Mark Bayles at

We want to thank those who support our events with their attendance.  You make our community a better place!

Media Contacts:

Andre Wesson, Justice in Action Committee Chair:  (919) 843-8917
Emily Kelahan, Justice in Action Institutitional Racism Sub-Committee Chair:  (919) 537-8027




Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm


Hargraves Center, 216 N. Roberson St. Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Chapel Hill's New Website Goes Live

New [screenshot added by OP editor]

The Town of Chapel Hill's new website appears to have gone live today.  It sure is a snazzy new look, but I haven't found much yet in the way of new features.  The menu navigation seems to be more intuitive than the old website, and it seems to be much easier to use from a casual visitor's perspective.  But I'm still not having an easy time finding archived material without a help from my dear friend Google.  Have you had a chance to check it out?  What do you think?

Mayor's Mental Health Task Force Listening Session

Listening Sessions Announcement

The Mayor’s Mental Health Task Force will hold two Public Listening Sessions on February 24th and 25th in the Chapel Hill Town Council Chambers. The purpose of these sessions is to enable Task Force members to hear from consumers of mental health services, those who are on the front lines in the mental health field, those who work in allied fields and community members at large.

The sessions are scheduled as follows:

§  Tuesday, February 24, 2009 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

§  Wednesday, February 25, 2009 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

These sessions seek to open a community dialogue on the pressing issue of the state of mental health services in the area. We invite all who are interested in presenting their views to the Task Force to:

§  Join us on February 24th or 25th to make a 3-minute statement (sign up that evening on a first-come, first-served basis;

§  Submit a written statement to the Task Force at a listening session or by email ( or mail/delivery to Mayor’s Office, 405 Martin Luther King Blvd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.

§  Submit a post to the Task Force blog (see below);

Persons who are organizing a group presentation and wish to speak beyond the 3-minute limit are requested to make prior arrangements through the Mayor’s Office (968-2714).

Together the community and the Task Force can identify important issues related to mental health service delivery in our area and identify potential strategies for change or improvement. As part of our effort to create a community dialogue, we have also developed a blog at, where we invite all members of the community to offer feedback and comments.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009 - 1:00pm


Town Council Chambers 405 Martin Luther King Jr. BLVD

Chapel Hill to Host Community Conversation on Differences in Socio-Economic Classes

The public is invited to a community program discussing differences in socio-economic class in Chapel Hill to be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, in the Council Chamber of Chapel Hill Town Hall. Refreshments will be provided.

Organized by the Town of Chapel Hill’s Justice in Action Committee, the event is the second in a series of outreach events designed to engage the community in frank conversations about racial, economic, and social justice issues in Chapel Hill.

Council Member Mark Kleinschmidt and Justice in Action Committee Chair André Wesson will make welcoming remarks. Ben Saypol, program director of the UNC Interactive Theatre Scene, will lead a scripted and improvisational theater program to help facilitate the discussion.

Interactive Theatre Carolina uses scripted and improvisational theatre to promote health/wellness and social justice in the Chapel Hill community. This program depicts an example of the conflicts raised by differences in socio-economic class and engages the audience to participate in the drama on stage. In so doing, the audience is encouraged to explore and consider their own attitudes and behaviors.

The Justice in Action Committee was created in 2005 following the Council's approval of the renaming of Airport Road to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. In 2007, the committee adopted a new name, purpose and mission: “To adequately and effectively reflect the Town of Chapel Hill’s integrity and commitment to preserving racial, economic, and social justice within the community.”

Its stated goals are to recognize how we take for granted our biases and how these affect behavior; to challenge comfort zones by calling attention to how class reinforces the invisibility of others; to explore our own perspectives, attitudes and behaviors by opening ourselves up to recognize the perspectives of others; and to identify how our differences unite and bind us together.

Future programs being planned by the Justice in Action Committee include an event during Human Rights week in December 2008 and a Martin Luther King Day Celebration in spring 2009.

“The success of this program and the committee’s work will depend on the level of community involvement,” said Justice in Action Committee Chair André Wessen. “Our last event on race demonstrated the need to continue the dialogue on these important community issues.”

To learn more about this event and/or the Justice in Action Committee, contact André Wessen (919) 843-8917 or Jan Boxill (919) 962-3317. New members are welcomed, and applications are available on the Town of Chapel Hill website at


Tuesday, November 11, 2008 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm


Town Hall, Council Chambers, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. BLVD Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Hi Mom! Film Festival

Hi Mom! is a free-to-enter, cheap-to-attend volunteer run festival of short films, now in year number 10. We see it as an important and fun contribution to the local vibrant culture. Our outdoor show is co-sponsored by the Town of Chapel Hill, an attempt by them to help utilize the parking deck plaza for events. It may be noted that we are one of the few groups to ever use the space - we've put on an outdoor show there for 5 years now and usually have had crowds of 200 - 350. This is the first year the town has "co-sponsored" that show, they are giving us chairs to use so we don't have to rent them, and I think waiving the fee we normally pay ($75 I think).



Official info:

The Hi Mom! Film Fest announces its 10th annual festival of short films, videos and animations, Friday and Saturday September 5th and 6th, 2008 in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Hi Mom! features a diverse mix of styles, techniques and genres by inspired filmmakers from around the world. Each film in this year’s lineup asserts its own brand of cine-skill that will inspire, provoke, inform, amuse and other terms you learned in psych class. As always, the pancakes will be free!


51 short films in 4 fantastic screening blocks! Behold:


Outdoor Block - a family-friendly fun mix of films atop the downtown Chapel Hill Wallace Parking Deck (located behind post office), 8pm, Friday 9/5. *Rain location is The ArtsCenter in Carrboro.


Late Night Madness - a rude and raunchy no-prudes-allowed block, at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, 11pm, Friday 9/5.


Matineevening - our thought provoking and poignant block at dusk, at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, 6pm, Saturday 9/6.


Primetime HM! - our featured block of eclectic and fun shorts, at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, 9pm, Saturday 9/6.

Afterparty at Nightlight! A full-throttle collision between sight and sound. Featuring Americans in France, Billy Triple Sugarfix, and lots of crazy videos and dance music. Sat - 11 until?


While individual block tickets will be available, Hi Mom! is offering a 10th anniversary "#10 for $10" ticket special! A $10 festival pass gets you into all shows! Visit to buy your ticket now, to review the lineup, and for more info.


>>> Hi Mom! is proud to be sponsored by a dedicated group of local businesses and the Town of Chapel Hill. >>>


Friday, September 5, 2008 - 4:00pm to Saturday, September 6, 2008 - 7:00pm


Chapel Hill & Carrboro



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