Monday, August 22, 2005

A public apology

Shortly after Airport Road was renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, one of the new street signs was vandalized. Recently Mayor Kevin Foy received the following letter:

Michael Clay
817 Klyce Street Apt. D
Eden, NC 27288

August 10, 2005

Dear Mayor Foy:

My name is Michael Clay and I am writing you this letter to apologize on behalf of myself and my former roommate Brandon Pegram. On May 10, 2005, we were out celebrating our last night together as students in Chapel Hill, a night in which we both made wrong decisions that caused personal embarrassment and pain among the entire community. We were residents of 142 E. Longview Street and after one last night on the town with all of our roommates and friends, we decided to take the Longview and Martin Luther King Blvd. street signs as souvenirs of our place of residence during our time in Chapel Hill.

While I know it may be extremely difficult to understand our motivation, I hope that by the end of this letter that it will be clear that our actions were not racially motivated and we are both sincerely sorry for any pain that our actions caused the community.

While I understand that I cannot erase any pain that resulted from that day, it is my dire hope that my apology will not fall onto hardened hearts and our actions that day will be seen as what they were; two college kids who went about remembeering their time in Chapel Hill the wrong way. To us, both of those street signs represented a memory of our time living at the corner of Longview and MLK Blvd, but to the community, the MLK Blvd street sign represented something more. When we attempted to take those memories for ourselves, we were actually robbing the community of a symbol of change and a source of hope. Our goal was never to do anything to hurt the community, but our stupidity and lack of consideration did just that. I understand that there were those who opposed the name change and I am saddened that my actions have been misconstrued into a form of racially motivated opposition. I am sorry that I was responsible for a decision that broke the law, but more importantly, I am sorry that my actions hurt the entire community. Thank you for your time and once again I am truly sorry for any pain that my actions have caused.


Michael Clay

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