The Town of Carrboro is located in Orange County, North Carolina. According to 2019 US Census estimates the town’s population is at 21,190, 29% of the population self-identified as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). The Town of Carrboro has built a progressive reputation, one that it is very proud of. In October of 2018, with the intention to standardize and further the Town’s work towards equity and social justice, the Carrboro Town Council (formerly, Board of Aldermen) voted to become a member of the Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE). The commitment to the GARE program and the Town’s dedication to racial equity continued throughout 2019. Within the year, Town Staff participated in the NC Convening on Race Equity and completed an employee-wide survey on race to inform future projects. Anita Jones-McNair was appointed as the Town’s first Race and Equity Officer. A CORE Team was created and participated in the first North Carolina Learning Cohort for 15 months. The CORE Team also created the following mission statement and logo.
Covid-19 hit in 2020 and created immediate service needs for town residents and an urgency to mitigate some of the disproportionate and adverse effects on our BIPOC population. Two of the prominent actions implemented were monthly food distributions and providing emergency housing assistance. Covid also led the Council to take on further “Action Steps related to COVIDs disproportionate effects on Blacks, Latinos and Other Underserved and Marginalized Communities”.
Other Town work was also placed on the fast track. This included the creation and adoption of the “Resolution on Next Steps in Advancing Racial Equity in Law Enforcement and Public Safety in Carrboro”, including the establishment of a Public Safety Task Force. The Town also committed to equity and racial justice with their announcement of “Supporting Reparations for Black Carrboro Resolution”. The latter is a culmination of research and analysis by Town Staff, the CORE Team, and the Race and Equity Officer. Among the background information created and gathered toward reparations discussions was a Jurisdictional Racial Equity Timeline and presentations on topics such as the Disproportionality of Trees in BIPOC Neighborhoods in Carrboro.
The Town’s ever increasing progressive movement included actions such as holding BIPOC Roundtable discussions; active Advisory Board recruitment for Black board members; and the development of the Community Liaison Program. Then in the summer of 2020 the town adopted Juneteenth as a Town Holiday for 2021 forward. The year’s end and the start to 2021 would see numerous other milestones: Black Lives Matter murals unveiled on two prominent town buildings; the GARE Cohort’s official graduation; the establishment of a Racial Equity Commission; and the launch of the GARE structured racial equity training for every staff member of the Town.