Silent Sam, 1913

Silent Sam must go

I graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1993. Even then we questioned why any soldier, not to mention one abstracted from a war that divided the country in an effort to preserve the horrible institution of slavery, should be in such a position of honor for all to see. The purpose of Confederate …

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An African American woman with her fist in the air looks a white man giving a Nazi salute

What happened in Durham

Like many people, a week ago I was feeling pretty down about the state of racial justice and just basic humanity in the United States. But then something happened.

In response to the hate and violence displayed in Charlottesville, hundreds of Durhamites came together for a huge vigil on Sunday night. Many friends of mine posted pictures and powerful testimonials to the collective love they felt gathered together.

But I also noticed that some activists had less satisfied responses, including frustration that the mostly-white event marginalized voices of color and those with more radical tactics. Much of that frustration fed into the Monday demonstration, which had already been planned to take place in front of Durham’s old courthouse, where there was a confederate monument with an inscription to “the boys who wore gray.”

Many times I have passed that statue and wondered what on earth it was doing there. Until last year, I really didn’t realize how pervasive these were and what drove their creation.

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"Nixon and Reagan shaking hands:

How Republicans have criminalized political opponents for decades

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with …

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First they came

First they came for the Anarchists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not an anarchist.

Then they came for Muslims, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not muslim.

Then they came for Black Lives Matter, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not black.

Then they came for the journalists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a journalist.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

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