On February 7, Carrboro High School hosted its annual Community Dinner in the Cafe Commons. The dinner’s purpose was to celebrate black culture, excellence and history through various speakers from our student body and community.
“This night is important because it gives the CHS community the opportunity to hear every voice that’s here at Carrboro High School because some voices are louder than others, and we have a tendency in Chapel Hill to pretend that racism doesn’t exist here and it does, and denying it just makes it that much worse,” said Beverly Rudolph, CHS principal, adding that, “I’m excited for tonight, I think at times we’ll hear hard things, but they are hard things that are truthful and need to be addressed.”
The event consisted of a catered dinner, special speakers and a student discussion panel to focus on minority voices and reflect on Black History Month.
The student discussion panel was moderated by Matt Murchison, a CHS English teacher. Students on the panel included Jarrad Cotton-Fox, Connor Hall, Kayla Hampton, Aniyah Harris, Jacobie Lewis, Chris Thompson and Kameron Walker.
“Tonight is a night to give the minority part of Carrboro a voice. The panel gives us a chance to let teachers know what minorities feel throughout the day and how classes feel for them, giving them an insight of what we feel. My favorite part of tonight is the student panel; it’s nice talking to teachers and being asked what I think of things,” said Lewis, a Carrboro senior.
Keynote speakers at the event included former Chapel Hill mayor Howard Lee, and Reverend Albert Williams.
Lee has spent the past few years working with schools all over the state, setting up special programs, and motivating young people about the opportunities awaiting them in the world.
“I’ve spent the last six years telling young people, don’t become deflected by things that simply will do nothing more than get you away from your primary goal. You have a voice, use it. No adult worth his or her soul would ignore what you have to say,” said Lee, who was also a former senator in the North Carolina General Assembly.
Lee made history in 1969 when he became the first black mayor of Chapel Hill, as well as the first black mayor of a majority-white Southern city.
“If you have thoughts, express them, don’t apologize for challenging policies, don’t apologize for questioning decisions made by the school board, principal or even the superintendent. People like me make policies, but people like you inherit those policies. Don’t become enslaved by history, but learn from history,” said Lee concerning the voices of today’s minority youth