Michelle Johnson, a member of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, is leaving town in June and will resign from the board at the end of May, she announced Tuesday.
Johnson, Carrboro’s mayor pro tem, has served on the town’s affordable housing task force since its inception and has been an activist on social-justice issues.
Efforts to reach Johnson for comment Tuesday morning were unsuccessful.
Last month Johnson questioned whether the town should proceed with planned police body cameras in light of a recent state law that limits who can see the footage and prevents its public release unless ordered by a judge. “Part of the reason people supported this in the first place was for more transparency,” she said at a February meeting.
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In 2013 Johnson, the board’s only African-American member, organized a gathering at Carrboro Town Hall for people to share their feelings after a Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin.
“I have a lot of grief, “ she said at the time, recalled hearing the news in her kitchen and feeling like she couldn’t breathe. “It felt like every trauma I had experienced related to race, and all the traumas that my mother and my grandmother experienced.”
Johnson is a licensed social workers and yoga instructor who has led people in yoga classes in the middle of Weaver Street during the town’s Open Streets celebration. She is also a potter.
“I’m sorry to see Michelle leave,” Mayor Lydia Lavelle said Tuesday. “She’s been a great colleague, and I think she’s established a reputation as someone who is thoughtful in her remarks.
In 2013, Johnson, along with then Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton, Aldermen Damon Seils and Sammy Slade, and Chapel Hill Town Council member Donna Bell were among 151 people arrested at the sixth Moral Monday protest in Raleigh.
Johnson ran unopposed to win her second four-year term in 2015.
The aldermen can either appoint someone to serve out the remaining time on her term or fill the position in the general election in November, Lavelle said.
Foushee announces candidacy
Barbara Foushee announced her candidacy for the Carrboro Board of Aldermen on Tuesday, saying she wants “to use my knowledge and my community activism experience to continue to promote positive change and growth in Carrboro.”
Foushee, a senior technologist in Research Triangle Park, said she wants to promote justice, affordable housing, economic growth and development and increased collaboration with Orange County and Chapel Hill, especially on major issues.
She has served on Carrboro’s Human Services Advisory Board for three years, where she helps allocate town funding to local nonprofits. She currently serves on the OWASA Board of Directors and is the secretary of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, an undergraduate adviser for the UNC chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Order of the Eastern Star, Randolph Chapter 185 and the Democratic Women of Orange County. She also has served as a mentor for the Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate Program.
The election will take place on Nov. 7. In addition to Mayor Lydia Lavelle, the seats now held by Jacquie Gist, Randee Haven-O’Donnell and Sammy Slade are up for election.