Two events set to address racism, reconciliation

Posted 7/10/20

Two Chatham-based organizations will host events this week — one online, one in person — to address the issues of systemic racism and reconciliation.

On Friday, the Racial Justice Task Force …

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Two events set to address racism, reconciliation

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Two Chatham-based organizations will host events this week — one online, one in person — to address the issues of systemic racism and reconciliation.

On Friday, the Racial Justice Task Force of the 18th Judicial District is partnering with Chatham government and nonprofit leaders to host a virtual community conversation on racial justice in Chatham’s criminal justice system. Founded in 2015, the Racial Justice Task Force works to understand how racial minorities are disproportionately represented in the criminal and juvenile justice system.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic and limits on gathering sizes, the event will take place over the Zoom video conference platform from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Pre-registration for the event is required, but anyone who registers can attend.

N.C. Rep. Rep. Robert Reives II, Chatham Sheriff Mike Roberson and Hispanic Liaison founder Ilana Dubester are among a group of speakers who will talk about racial justice from their perspectives. Following the speakers, facilitators will invite Chatham residents to join the discussion.

Karen Howard, the chairperson of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners and one of the scheduled speakers at the event, said she’s grateful for the opportunity to have a collaborative conversation with people involved in different racial justice efforts in the community.

“My hope is that we will hear things from each other that are helpful but that also that we will not look at this as a one-off event — that we will recognize that there’s work to be done, and we probably need to keep having these kinds of conversations, and perhaps even committees arise out of those conversations that do work, research and bring information back to the groups represented by the speakers,” she said.

Guided discussion in the event will include focus on the causes of race-based disparities in criminal justice, filling systemic and institutional gaps to eliminate inequality and setting community goals. For more information or to preregistration to participate in the event, go to:

The following day, on Saturday, Chatham’s Community Remembrance Coalition is sponsoring an in-person gathering where multiple speakers will call for support and action towards truth, justice and reconciliation.

The event will take place at the Justice Center behind the historic courthouse in Pittsboro beginning at 4 p.m.

The Community Remembrance Coalition Chatham is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization made up of black and white citizens of Chatham County working together to foster equal justice for all of the county’s citizens. The group is calling for a full accounting of the county’s racial history, public recognition of that history, memorialization of the victims of six lynchings in the county and, through recognition and acknowledgment of this history, further racial reconciliation within the county.

“More people in Chatham County need to learn the past history about what has taken place, so going forward we can have a better relationship among black, white and brown citizens,” said Mary Nettles, the president of the Chatham Community branch of the NAACP. “We need a county that works for everyone, no matter how or when we got here.”

In addition to Nettles, scheduled speakers include the Rev. Carl Thompson, Chatham Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Charles Gardner and a number of elected officials. Social distancing and masks are required at the event.


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David Delaney

The Racial Justice Task Force event can be viewed at this YouTube link:

Monday, July 13

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