Gene Nichol’s powerful April 13 Point of View “Julius Chambers and the UNC Civil Rights Center” was about the worry of Julius Chambers that one day the UNC Center for Civil Rights would be attacked. That day is here. And we must all respond.
Recently, I attended the Diversity Awards at UNC’s Wilson Library. Attendees were greeted with flyers listing the honorees, who have positively impacted multicultural life at UNC. The flyers also noted “the Educational Policy Committee of the UNC Board of Governors is considering a proposal to forbid one of the winners of today’s awards – the UNC Center for Civil Rights – from litigating cases.”
How can UNC honor an office, while simultaneously trying to prevent that office from doing the work that comprises its reason for being? There was notable response to the Center for Civil Rights.
The center serves communities subjected to, and still suffering from, persistent school segregation, voter suppression and environmental racism. These communities look to UNC for help. Asking the Center for Civil Rights not to litigate for civil rights is counter-intuitive.
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Jane S. Gabin