January 30, 2012
To Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt
Members of the Chapel Hill Town Council
From: Minister Campbell, President
Chapel Hill-Carrboro Branch NAACP
We urge you to meet with community leaders and activists, including members of Occupy Chapel Hill, to review and reevaluate the town ordinances governing the use of public spaces and facilities. The Town of Chapel Hill prides itself on its support for civil and human rights, and, like our NAACP Branch and faith and community friends, has supported the Occupy Chapel Hill encampment and its continued voice for social justice and equality.
Voices have been raised expressing concern about the ordinances in question, put in place in much earlier times in the Town’s history. The ordinances have invited challenges from free speech advocates long before Occupy Chapel Hill organized, including their vagueness, and their openness to arbitrary application by town staff. The history and present circumstances call for as public review of the ordinances in question, and input into their appropriate and fair application in the context of the public’s right to exercise respectfully their free speech rights to protest, demonstrate, and otherwise act to redress grievances.
We stand ready to join community representatives, Occupy Chapel Hill participants, our elected leaders, our town manager, chief of police and other staff the Town may designate in a series of meetings that will assure a fair and transparent process to resolve the issues and deep concerns aroused by the memo sent by the Town Manager Roger Stancil to the Council of a week ago.
We will follow up with your offices to set up the conversation we seek.
Minister Robert Campbell,
President, Chapel Hill Carrboro Branch,
Carrboro, NC, 27510
February 1, 2012
Dear Minister Campbell,
Occupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro wishes to convey our deep and sincere appreciation for your letter of January 30, 2012, to the Mayor and Town Council of Chapel Hill expressing your support of OCHC. We stand in solidarity with you in the condemnation of antiquated ordinances that limit free speech rights, especially when they are arbitrarily enforced by those in power.
OCHC also wishes to express appreciation for your outreach to us and for including us in your work towards our mutual interests:
We recall our first meeting with you, where together we arranged to temporarily disband our occupation of the Peace and Justice Plaza in order to prepare in cooperation for the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
We recall that, although you received negative information about Occupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro, you chose to personally visit the camp and dispelled those rumors through your own observations.
We recall that when you were invited to attend a General Assembly, you did so, speaking to us of your own experiences in the Civil Rights movement and how we might benefit from those lessons.
We recall your comments at our Demonstration for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms at the Plaza on January 29, as you reiterated the wisdom born from the trials of long years spent in the trenches working for real, tangible improvement in the lives of the people you represent.
We respect your seasoned and serious voice and Occupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro looks forward to a continued working relationship with you and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, and to furthering our shared ideals of a community that lives up to the values it professes to respect.
Occupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro
Occupy the Courts Direct Action
Friday, January 20
Thanks to all the groups, organizations, and individuals who helped out, Occupy the Courts at the Raleigh District Court on January 20th was a success! At one point our demonstration numbered between 40 and 50 people strong. The protest was covered by three TV stations, interviewers, and a few photographers, including OCHC’s ever present independent photojournalist, Kevin Smith. In addition to music and song and a little Mit Romney street theater, we also enjoyed an endless parade of car horns creating the Doppler Effect of support all day long! We made connections, exchanged ideas, and participated in an impromptu NCMultiOccupy General Assembly, where we were able to talk about Triangle events and future Occupy partnerships. Though our space was surrounded by parked police vehicles, told to put away two banners, and the GA facilitator was told to get off a slightly taller than bench-height wall, we were largely unmolested by the police. And it must be said that one of them went out of his way to express his support of our efforts.
Perhaps equally exciting as the event’s success is the amount of coordinated effort contributed by Triangle area groups. Despite the fact that the list of thanks below is incomplete, its various members indicate a connection of purpose and planning among Triangle activist groups. This bodes well for the strength and development of the Occupy Movement in the Triangle and the state of North Carolina in the near future.
Thanks to Occupy Durham for printing pamphlets and planning help; Occupy Chapel Hill for legal observers and planning help; Occupy Raleigh for support; Occupy Charlotte for suddenly showing up with food and support; the Raging Grannies for showing up and singing their “I Wish I Were a Corporation” anthem tirelessly; Jeremy Gilchrist of Occupy Raleigh for toting along his guitar; Frank Ferrell (President, Ninth St. Bakery) for his donation of the Bio Bus; Democracy NC for bringing that enormous gavel and offering future assistance to Occupy and Move to Amend; Mit Romney (Sara Appel) and his satire; all those who made signs and held them up for hours; carpool drivers; Diane Nelson for donating food; those who let us borrow supplies; Lila Little for recording the event and Becca for loaning her iPhone; representatives and support from Triangle Move to Amend, NC Voters for Clean Elections, Committee to End Corporate Personhood, The Human Rights Center, and NC AFL-CIO; all who participated in the NCMultiOccupy General Assembly; and thanks to all those unnamed here who showed up and lent a hand and voice!
Dear Mr. Stancil, January 23, 2012
Occupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro affirms that no government –local, state, or national– shall make a law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or prohibit the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
These are unalienable, intrinsic rights as acknowledged by our Founders. No government–and no government employee– can abrogate or mitigate these rights. We require that the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro also acknowledge the very first amendment to our Constitution. Codes, regulations, laws, or punitive measures which are in violation of these inherent rights are by their nature unconstitutional.
Occupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro fully intends to exercise these unalienable rights and to pursue any and all legal remedies if these rights are unconstitutionally violated.
Occupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro
Occupy Chapel Hill/ Carrboro endorses this march and will be participating.
At 5:30 meet @ the Plaza we will discuss talking points.
Meet at 6pm @ the Plaza to gather for the march. (Bring signs, banners, drums and noise makers)
People who want to join, but can not participate in the march, may meet us at town hall before 7pm.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Residents To Protest Review Endorsing Violent
CHAPEL HILL – On January 6, Chapel Hill Town Manager Roger Stancil
presented a review of the November 13 police raid on the occupied building
formerly housing the Yates Motor Company that praised the conduct of the
police. In response, at 6 pm on Monday, January 9, Chapel Hill residents
outraged by the report’s legitimization of police violence will gather at
Peace and Justice Plaza on Franklin Street. The Chapel Hill Prison Books
Collective and Croatan Earth First!, two grassroots community
organizations and and Occupy Chapel Hlil/ Carrboro endorse this protest as a necessary response to this reckless sanction of heavy-handed repression.
The report demonstrates that the Town government is dangerously out of
touch with the people of Chapel Hill. The report minimizes the widespread
outrage and condemnation of the police response, referring to it only as
“interest,” and refuses to endorse an independent review of the incident
or to apologize to the reporters detained during the raid. Town Manager
Stancil alleges that “there were two unsuccessful attempts to communicate
with those inside the building,” but fails to show that anyone was ever
asked to leave the building before the SERT raid, as recommended by
policy. He claims that this action was executed with consideration for
the surrounding population on Franklin Street, while the police report
states “that bystanders immediately adjacent to the building could not be
disregarded and would, therefore, be detained until the entire area was
declared secure and they could be identified.” This attempt to whitewash
an outrageously inappropriate police action, following on the heels of an
alleged incident of racial profiling by Chapel Hill police, shows that
local residents can expect no accountability from local government.
This review sets a dangerous precedent for Chapel Hill police responding
to creative civil disobedience with potentially lethal force. Indeed, as
the report indicates, a SERT team was deployed against peaceful occupiers
at an anti-war protest at Congressman David Price’s office in 2002,
revealing a pattern of threatening extreme force against unarmed
protestors. Furthermore, the report indicates that Chapel Hill police
collaborated with other NC law enforcement in targeting activists for
surveillance on the basis of their political beliefs. The Town Manager’s
statement confirms what the conduct of the police already showed: for the
government of Chapel Hill, property rights are more important than human
life. Is it better that people risk death from exposure or the bullets of
militarized police than that anyone challenge a landlord’s right to keep
vast buildings empty in the midst of an economic crisis? Unlike the town
government, the people of Chapel Hill will unite Monday evening to say no.
Lucy Parsons (Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective)
Sarah Connor (Croatan Earth First!)