Monday Memo

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Monday Memo is a regular column from the Chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners. You can sign up to receive this and other Orange County news in your inbox.

The current edition is posted below. Archives are available on the right.

Monday Memo: May 10, 2021

Budget Season is Here

Now is the time for the residents of Orange County to have their say regarding the General Operating Budget and Capital Investment Plan as recommended by the County Manager for the next fiscal year, from July1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will hold two public hearings—on May 11 and on June 7, starting at 7 p.m.—when you may speak about any item of concern in the Budget and CIP.

Included in these two documents are recommendations to: fund an emergency management services [EMS] substation at Waterstone; maintain the same level of per pupil spending for the two school systems: and increase the property tax rate. You also will see plans for parks, housing, climate change mitigation, the arts and more.

Members of the public are asked to contact the Clerk to the Board using the email address no later than 3 p.m. on the day of the meeting. Please include that you wish to speak on the budget public hearing and the appropriate date (May 11 or June 7), along with your name, address, email address and phone number. The phone number must be the number you will use to call in from if you plan to speak via phone.

You can also mail a letter to PO Box 8181, Hillsborough, NC 27278.

60th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

On May 4, 1961, 13 Black and white civil rights advocates boarded a Greyhound bus in Washington, D.C., bound for New Orleans. Riding side by side, on interstate highways through the Jim Crow South, they sought to test the 1960 U.S. Supreme Court decision that segregation of interstate transportation facilities was unconstitutional. From May to December 1961, over 400 women and men courageously challenged segregation, despite the danger refuting white supremacy presented at the time.

The Freedom Riders encountered mob violence, fire bombings, and police brutality. Nevertheless, they persisted in their fight for justice. Their actions influenced and changed the landscape of race relations, civil rights and human rights in the United States.

Appropriately, the BOCC approved a proclamation designating May 2021 as Freedom Riders Month in Orange County. Click here to read the proclamation.

On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, the Orange County Community Remembrance Coalition in collaboration with Carolina K-12, hosted a virtual program to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides. The program featured David J. Dennis, JD, who was among the fearless and determined Freedom Riders. He recounted some of his experiences on the busses, and also his work as Co-director of Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), Mississippi Director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and a Coordinator of the Mississippi Freedom Summer.

 In addition to elevating this important time in American history, the program also explored the ways in which the struggle for civil rights continues, today, with local activists and artivists: Braxton Foushee, LaTarndra Strong, Cortland Gilliam, CJ Suitt, Freddie L. Parker, and William Sturkey. Moderators included Paris Miller-Foushee, members of the NAACP Youth Council and myself. Many thanks to the Planning Committee and technology crew, the amazing people behind the scenes who made the event possible.

Memorial Day 2021

The Memorial Day Service will be held on Monday, May 31, at the Veterans Memorial Site on Homestead Road; and in case of inclement weather, it will be inside at the Seymour Center Theater. The guest speaker will be Nick Palmisciano, CEO of Diesel Jack Media, Founder of Ranger Up, Former United States Army Captain, and Ranger. Please arrive at 7:45 a.m. for the Posting of Colors promptly at 8 a.m.

To learn more about the memorial and to make a donation to make this become reality, please visit their new website.