Thursday, July 22, 2004

Till Kingdom come

This morning, at the request of friend and neighbor Dr. Tim Thomas, I gave a speech to the Chapel Hill "Golden K" Kiwanis chapter. (You have to be age 60 to join, and the average age is over 80.)

I talked from my perspective as a Town Council member on the debate about whether to rename Airport Road for Martin Luther King, Jr. For a long time I have been persuaded that we should do this. But after almost coming to a vote on the question in May, the council instead decided to form another study committee. The committee will be established in September. I don't know how long it will meet, but I do know that it needs to have a firm end date. I'll work to make sure that both the time frame and the committee's charge are clearly defined.

I gave a different version of this talk to the Community Church of Chapel Hill on Sunday, to an audience that included long-time local civil rights activists. It was better received there than it was this morning. "Everything was fine" between the races, said a Golden K, until "they" had to ask for this.

That's not exactly how I would put it.

From the differences in reception and perception, it's obvious that we have a lot to talk about on the subject of race in this community. This is about more than "a strip of pavement."

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