Category Archives: Activism

Past Events in 2017

List of Events in 2017

11/12/17: MERI Workshop at As-Salaam Islamic Center in Raleigh.
MERI members Letha Muhammad, Noah Rubin-Blose and Manzoor Cheema co-facilitated anti-Islamophobia workshop at the historically Black mosque in Raleigh – As-Salaam Islamic Center.

MERI members attended Southern Movement Assembly VII at Franklinton Center at Bricks in Whitakers, NC. MERI members Letha Muhammad and Manzoor Cheema co-facilitated a workshop on Islamophobia with Shafeah M’Balia and Munir Abdul Hakeem (James Perry).

10/04/17. Anti-Islamophobia letter writing workshop in Raleigh, NC.
Members wrote letters on Muslim Ban, plight of Rohingya Muslims, and other oppressions. Read MERI media publications HERE.

9/16/17. Anti-Islamophobia workshop at CHRONIC (Carolina Human Rights Organizing Network) 2017 Conference in Greenville, SC.
MERI Coordinator Manzoor Cheema made a presentation titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” at this annual conference that brings together social justice organizers in South Carolina, North Carolina, and other parts of the country.

7/15/17. Partnered with Anti-Racism, Anti-Islamophobia, Immigrant/Refugee Rights Assembly in Raleigh.
This grassroots people’s assembly brought together social justice organizers throughout the Triangle area of North Carolina and beyond. Participants strategized on building anti-oppression movement.

7/12/17. Anti-Islamophobia letter-writing workshop in Durham.
MERI organizes quarterly letter-writing workshops against Islamophobia. Click links  to read letters and op-ed from this workshop.

6/10/17. Anti-Islamophobia protest in Raleigh (counter ACT for America protest). MERI supported anti-Islamophobia protest led by Muslim women organizers. Read more HERE and HERE.

6/7/17. MERI upported press conference for the release of Mosa Hamadeesa from ICE Detention (MERI continued to mobilize for 2 months for the release of Mosa Hamadeesa) in downtown Raleigh. Participants contacted located legislators and ICE for the release of Mosa Hamadeesa.

4/26/17. Anti-Islamophobia forum at Fruit of Labor World Cultural Center in Raleigh, NC.
MERI co-organized Anti-Racism, Anti-Islamophobia and Worker Rights forum at Fruit of Labor World Cultural Center in Raleigh.

4/1/17. Anti-Islamophobia presentation at North Carolina Public Workers Union – UE Local 150 Municipal Meeting in Greensboro, NC. As a result of this presentation, UE Local 150 passed a resolution against Islamophobia at workplace. This was followed by a similar resolution by national UE Union. Read more HERE.

3/30/17. Anti-Islamophobia presentation at North Carolina State University School of Social Work’s Spring 2017 Symposium.
The theme of this symposium was “Poverty and Advocacy: Intersectionality of Poverty, Race and Gender”. MERI Coordinator Manzoor Cheema made a presentation titled “ Challenging Racism and Islamophobia”.

3/25/17. Anti-Islamophobia workshop at 2017 Jack Crum Conference organized by Methodist Federation for Social Action – North Carolina Chapter. MERI members Letha Muhammad and Manzoor Cheema co-facilitated this workshop.

3/18/17. Speech on Islamophobia at Legislative Meeting for Refugee Rights at NC General Assembly. This event was organized by University of North Carolina Refugee Wellness.

3/4/17. Anti-Islamophobia presentation at Take It Back Raleigh event at Vital Link School. This event was organized Raleigh-based social justice organizer Erika Moss on behalf of Power Up NC.

MERI participated in Triangle People’s Assembly in Durham, NC, on February 25, 2017. This event invited approximately hundred folks from throughout the Triangle area of NC. Participants discussed response to MuslimBan, attacks on immigrants, local action during May Day 2017, and other actions.

MERI facilitated Islamophobia workshop at League of Women Voters (Wake County) meeting in Raleigh, NC, on February 24, 2017. The League of Women Voters of Wake County is a nonpartisan organization whose purposes are to encourage the active participation of all citizens in government, to work to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. Learn about our workshops and presentations HERE.

MERI members participated in HKonJ 2017/11th Annual Moral March on Raleigh on February 11, 2017. MERI Coordinator, Manzoor Cheema, spoke on the need to end racism, Islamophobia and other forms of oppression. Anti-Islamophobia allies from MERI, Muslims for Social Justice, Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle, and other organizations participated in this rally.

MERI made a presentation on Islamophobia in Winston-Salem on February 9, 2017. This meeting was organized by Winston-Salem Sanctuary City Movement and hosted by Green Street United Methodist Church.

MERI facilitated a workshop on Islamophobia at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, South Carolina, on February 5, 2017.  This workshop explored roots of anti-Muslim bigotry, connection between Islamophobia and anti-Black racism, cases of anti-Muslim bigotry in our community and how to challenge this oppression.

MERI members participated “No Ban, No Wall” protest in downtown Raleigh on February 4, 2017. This protest was organized by NC United for Refugees and Immigrants and allies. Members of Muslims for Social Justice, Jewish Voices for Peace – Triangle, and allies spoke about the need to defeat anti-Muslim bigotry, attacks on immigrants and other oppressions.

MERI facilitated a workshop on Islamophobia and racism hosted by El Pueblo in Raleigh, NC, on February 4, 2017. El Pueblo is a Raleigh-based organization that envisions a just and equal community where all are respected, valued, and engaged.
                                                                    Picture by El Pueblo
MERI Coordinator Manzoor Cheema spoke about MuslimBan executive order during a Facebook video conference organized by SEIRN (Southeast Immigrant Rights Network). This event was organized in Raleigh, NC, on February 2, 2017. Other participants included Nayely Irais (SEIRN), Martha Hernandez (Comite de Accion Popular), Griselda Alonso (formerly with El Pueblo).

MERI made a presentation titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia in Hillsborough, NC, on January 29, 2017. This event was organized by Orange County Human Relations Commission.  Panelists included Fatema Ahmad (Muslims for Social Justice), Mark Dorosin (Orange County Commissioner, UNC Center for Civil Rights) and Manzoor Cheema (MERI and MSJ). This discussion was moderated by Imam Shane Atkinson, Associate Imam at As-Salaam Islamic Center and Muslim Life Coordinator at Elon University.

MERI members attended the second session of the Triangle People’s Assembly in Raleigh, NC, on January 28, 2017. Triangle People’s Assembly was launched by a coalition of organizations, including Black Workers for Justice, Muslims for Social Justice, UE Local 150, Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, Durham Solidarity Center, Fight for $15, Organize 2020, Durham Beyond Policing, and other organizations. Learn more HERE.

MERI members attended a rally in support of refugees in the wake of MuslimBan/anti-immigrant executive orders. This rally was organized on January 27, 2017 in downtown Durham by NC United for Refugees and Immigrants and Christian World Service. 

MERI Coordinator Manzoor Cheema made a presentation on Islamophobia at Emerson Waldorf High School in Chapel Hill, NC, on January 19, 2017. Other panelists included Prof. Juliane Hammer (UNC-CH), Aisha Anwar (Carolina Performing Arts) and Imam Abdul Waheed (Duke University Muslim Chaplain).

MERI supported the Muslims for Social Justice to organize a workshop titled “Know Your Rights” at As-Salaam Islamic Center in Raleigh on January 18, 2017. This workshop was facilitated by the international recognized human rights lawyer and legal director of Project South – Azadeh Shahshahani.

MERI partners attended a forum titled “Linking Our Struggles During the Trump Era” at Fruit of Labor World Cultural Center in Raleigh, NC, on January 17, 2017. This forum brought representatives from anti-racism, worker rights, immigrant rights, anti-Islamophobia movements and allies.





Know Your Rights Resource Guide

Check out Know Your Rights resources by National Lawyers Guild. The following booklet provides information about rights when approached by law enforcement or government agencies (police, FBI, ICE, etc.), and rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

Find the resources she shared with attendees in multiple languages here.

NLG Know Your Rights


Here is important information for immigrants & refugees from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen in the wake of #MuslimBan executive order.
Your Rights

Upcoming January Events

“Linking Our Struggles During Trump Era” Forum

When: Tuesday, January 17, 2017. 6PM – 8:30PM

Where: Fruit of Labor World Cultural Center

4200 Lake Ridge Dr
Raleigh, NC 27604
Linking Struggle 4

During this era, there is an urgency to build a stronger social justice movement against all forms of oppression. This discussion will bring together members from anti-racism, worker rights, immigrant & refugee rights, anti-Islamophobia movements, and allies from all social justice movements. We will discuss challenges faced by these movements and how to build stronger links with other movements. Join us in our discussion on how to link our struggles and build a stronger social justice movement!

We will offer transportation for the participants, if needed. Interpretation services for Spanish speakers will also be provided. For more questions, contact

Black Workers for Justice
Freedom Manifesto/Black Liberation Unity Committee(BLUC) Study Group
Muslims for Social Justice
UE Local 150
Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia
NC-United for Refugees and Immigrants (Refugee Rights)
AIME (Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East)
Project South
Triangle Unity May Day Coalition
“Know Your Rights” workshop
When: Wednesday, January 18, 2017. 6PM – 8:30PM

Where: As-Salaam Islamic Center/Vital Link School
1214 E Lenoir Street
Raleigh, NC 27610
With the current political climate, there is concern among many groups about how to handle encounters with law enforcement. In particular, many Muslims were approached by the FBI the weekend before the election. 

Azadeh Shahshahani will be presenting legal information about your rights when approached by any law enforcement or government agency (police, FBI, etc), and your rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression. An internationally recognized human rights lawyer, Azadeh is the current Legal and Advocacy Director for Project South. She is past resident of NC, and previous president of the National Lawyers Guild. 

Learn about Project South here:

This workshop is open to absolutely anyone who feels they or their community may be targeted by law enforcement and government agencies, whether local police departments, FBI, TSA, NSA, etc. Groups that are often targeted by these agencies include people who are or are associated with Muslims, African Americans, immigrants, Latinos, and South Asians.
This event is hosted by As-Salaam Islamic Center and organized by Muslims for Social Justice. Sponsored by Muslim American Public Affairs Council (MAPAC).
Snacks will be provided.
Facebook Event Page
Women’s March on Raleigh
When: Saturday, January 21, 10AM
Where: City Plaza on Fayetteville Street
400 Fayetteville St
Raleigh, NC 27601
This is a local event to march in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. MEET AT CITY PLAZA ON FAYETTEVILLE ST. IN FRONT OF MARRIOTT AT 10:00AM. STEP OFF AT 10:30. MARCH TO MOORE SQUARE. RALLY PROGRAM BEGINS AT 11:30 AT MOORE SQUARE.
Facebook Event Page
Triangle People’s Assembly

When:  Saturday, January 28, 12PM – 4PM

Where: TBD
Raleigh, NC

Join and help build the People’s Assembly.  The past few weeks have shown us just a glimpse about what we are up against at the state and Federal levels. The recent convening of 2017 Session of Congress announced major plans to attack health care and Federal employees rights on their first day. Trump has appointed corporate and Wall St. executives and enemies of the working class and oppressed peoples to his cabinet, wealthy elites that hate the very people their departments are designed to safeguard. The right-wing in Raleigh is trying to maintain their control of the Governor’s office and has made power grabs altering control in many state departments. We have to fight back and our movements MUST DIG DEEPER INTO OUR COMMUNITIES, SCHOOLS AND WORKPLACES if we are to be more united than ever.

We must develop the People’s Assembly as the front line of resistance, uniting all the organizing forces in our communities, schools and workplaces and engaging newly active people.  At the last assembly ON December 4TH 2016 we had representatives from many of the local struggles for Black, immigrant, Muslim,  worker, woman, environmental and electoral rights and  power. But we must continue to unite and learn from the many other battlefronts and struggles that are fighting back. We must learn lessons from each other’s practice, struggle and organizing, so that we can raise our collective  mass political consciousness. We must learn together about the critical role and timely need for the Peoples Assembly organizing process as  an independent political action necessity in 2017!  

We need your help to develop a People’s Assembly process to serve as a fundamental component of sharing reports,  learning from each other, strengthening a democratic, bottom-up grassroots movement to engage a stronger vision and  struggle for  working peoples power and transformative change in our communities, workplaces and society.

Facebook Event Page

Press Advisory: Triangle Interfaith Community to Protest Anti-Muslim Talk Tonight (10/18)

Members of the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia will stage a protest outside of Extraordinary Ventures Event Center at 200 S Elliott Rd in Chapel Hill from 6-8PM tonight during a talk by an anti-Muslim speaker, Diana West.

Diane West was invited to speak as part of the ICON (Issues Confronting Our Nation) lecture series. West has written in favor of profiling Muslims (source, 6/13/13) and characterized Muslim immigration to the US as an “invasion by alien hordes” (source, 8/26/15).

Organizers expect 30 protestors with signs and chants outside the event.

This protest follows a letter written to Extraordinary Ventures last week which requested that EV not host the lecture. The letter was signed by eight community organizations and individuals including prominent faith leaders from across the Triangle. In response, EV posted to its facebook page, “We stand by the right of free speech while at the same time appreciating your concerns… We only rent space to the public. As such, we cannot and do not discriminate by refusing to rent space to people we may disagree with.”

In contrast, the letter characterizes West’s positions as hate speech, noting, “There is a dramatic rise in attacks against Muslims as a result of hate speech and institutional Islamophobia. Muslims, and people perceived as Muslims, are attacked and murdered throughout the country.” On February 10, 2015, three Muslim students were shot to death in Chapel Hill, and police have investigated their murder as an anti-Muslim hate crime.

Protestors will call on EV to cancel this and all future ICON lectures, while noting that they appreciate EV’s mission to provide services for autistic and developmentally challenged youth, and as a venue for community events.

Organizations who signed the letter include the Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East, Black Workers for Justice, Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle NC, the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, Muslims for Social Justice, Triangle May Day Unity Coalition, Triangle SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice), and Witness for Peace Southeast. The letter was also signed by Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, whose two daughters and son-in-law were killed in the Chapel Hill shooting last year.


Manzoor Cheema

Cancel Diana West and ICON Series

Extraordinary Ventures

200 S Elliott Rd

Chapel Hill, NC 27514


Dear Sir/Madam,

As Triangle community members, we value the important work by Extraordinary Ventures, including services for autistic and developmentally challenged youth, and providing a venue for important events.

We have been saddened to learn that on Tuesday, October 18, 2016, ICON will invite Diana West to speak at Extraordinary Ventures in Chapel Hill, NC. This is a disturbing development for peace and justice loving community members in the Triangle and beyond.

Diana West has been known for virulent hatred against Muslims and immigrants. She has contributed to the paranoia that Muslims want to take over the country and establish their religious law (Shariah law) in violation of the local and federal laws. Writing in a website (WND spearheaded conspiracy theories about Obama’s U.S. citizenship and challenged validity of birth certificate released by the Obama White House), West has said, “If our leaders really wanted to prevent ‘another 9/11, they would have long ago admitted the obvious: that the world of Islam, from its terrorists to its kings, is engaged in the latest historical cycle of jihad to extend the reach of Islamic law (Shariah). They would have decided that ‘profiling’ isn’t worse than terrorism. They would have halted Islamic immigration not only to stop more jihad cells from forming but also to prevent Constitution-endangering, pro-Shariah demographics from forming, too.” (source, 6/13/13)

Diana West has also endorsed Donald Trump’s xenophobia against immigrants. While writing in a website by Frank Gaffney (quoted as “anti-Muslim conspiracist and gadfly” by The Washington Post), West opined,“I think that what we are both reacting to is … the normalcy of his [Donald Trump’s] reaction to a crisis. He reacts, even though he’s an extraordinary human being that is in a category by himself for all manner of reasons, he is reacting like a normal person would react to the loss of a border, to the invasion by alien hordes, to this destruction of America as a sovereign nation, and I think that what we see happening…” (source, 8/26/15)

Learn more about Diana West HERE.

In the past, ICON lecture series has invited such racist and bigoted speakers:

  • Roy Beck, who has spoken at white nationalist organizations like Council of Conservative Citizens.
  • Jim Simpson, who believes that immigrants are trying to “destroy the culture” in the United States.
  • Mark Krikorian, who asserted that Muslims are a “vicious people” and they celebrate 9/11 as a Muslim holiday.
  • John Guandolo, who claimed that the goal of the Muslim Students Association is to “recruit jihadis” and “spread disinformation”.

Hate speech has real life consequences for the marginalized communities. Muslims, and immigrants in general, have been demonized and dehumanized by the forces of hate. Laws and policies have been introduced against them, including in North Carolina, as a result of concerted efforts by these forces. Diana West has contributed to the hysteria against Sharia law, which has led to the anti-Sharia movement throughout the country, including in North Carolina. NC General Assembly members passed anti-Sharia law that was signed into law by Governor McCrory in 2013. In a study of 100 anti-Sharia laws introduced in the country, it was found that 80% of these laws were introduced by the same legislators who introduced voter suppression, anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, anti labor union and anti-immigrant laws (source).

There is a dramatic rise in attacks against Muslims as a result of hate speech and institutional Islamophobia. Muslims, and people perceived as Muslims, are attacked and murdered throughout the country. Three Muslim students were murdered in execution style in Chapel Hill in early 2015, an incident that many believe was an anti-Muslim hate crime. Victims of that heinous crime, Deah, Yusor and Razan, belonged to Muslim Students Association, the same organization that was demonized by Guandolo.

As Triangle community members, we urge Extraordinary Ventures to say no to the voices of hatred and bigotry. Many of the speakers invited by ICON series have played a role in institutional oppression against Muslims and immigrants. Hosting such bigoted voices at Extraordinary Ventures will harm marginalized communities and negate the mission of Extraordinary Ventures. We request Extraordinary Ventures to cancel Diana West’s upcoming speech and the future lecture series by ICON. We look forward to working with you to build a peaceful, just and loving community.

(A version of this letter will be emailed to ICON)

Signed by,


Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East

Black Workers for Justice

Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle NC

Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia

Muslims for Social Justice

Triangle May Day Unity Coalition

Triangle SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice)

Witness for Peace Southeast

Protest Against Southwest Airlines

Protest Against  Treatment of Workers and Muslims by Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines shareholder meeting took place in Chicago on May 18, 2016. This meeting was confronted by a protest by pilots, staff and mechanics for unfair work conditions. Southwest Airlines also has a history of discrimination against Muslims (see links below). Members of Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, the Center for New Community, Jewish Voice for Peace – Chicago and Muslim American Society – Chicago joined the protest.

Reports of anti-Muslim treatment at Southwest Airlines

“Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a senior at the university, was removed from the Oakland-bound flight from Los Angeles international airport on 6 April. Makhzoomi, 26, was born in Iraq, and his family fled the country in 2002 after his diplomat father was killed by Saddam Hussein’s regime.

According to Makhzoomi, he was removed from the flight and questioned by the FBI after another passenger informed airline staff about his phone conversation, which was to his uncle in Baghdad. He ended the call with the word “inshallah”, meaning “God willing”, and said the passenger thought he used the word “shahid”, meaning “martyr”, during the conversation.”

“”Khalil, 29 and Ayyad, 28, moved to Philadelphia from Palestine 15 years ago. Khalil now owns the Feltonville pizza shop — Pizza Point — that gave him his first job. The friends were in Chicago visiting each other’s families and met back at the airport Wednesday night to take the same flight home. The gate agent told them apologetically they wouldn’t be allowed to board because a passenger was afraid to fly with them after overhearing the men speaking Arabic.””

“A hijab-clad Muslim woman in the US was reportedly removed from a Southwest Airlines plane after she asked for switching seats with a flight attendant saying she “did not feel comfortable” with the passenger. Hakima Abdulle, a Muslim woman from Maryland, said she was removed from the flight from Chicago to Seattle “without any credible explanation”.
Abdulle said she wanted to switch seats but instead, she ended up being removed from the flight. This was the second such incident involving the carrier this month after an Iraqi man claimed that he was removed from a Southwest Airlines plane after a fellow passenger heard him speaking in Arabic.”

Report from protest against Southwest Airlines
“From North Carolina, Manzoor Cheema, a member of the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, made the connection between the protestors and the pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics picketing for better pay, benefits, and working conditions.
“Islamophobia is a product of a crisis in America where groups are marginalized and scapegoated to distract from labor issues and worker’s rights. It’s long been a “southern strategy” to divide labor and worker progressives. While Muslims are being kicked off planes, the corporation is abusing its workers. Merging these forces fighting against anti-Muslim profiling and for workers’ rights is important to achieve real change.””

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Events in Response to Bill Warner’s Visit

Community Mobilizations in Response to Bill Warner’s Visit

Anti-Muslim speaker, Bill Warner, was invited to speak at Pinehurst Country Club on May 15, 2016. He was invited by Moore Country Republican Women. Bill Warner has portrayed Muslim women wearing a hijab to KKK members donning clan outfit, criticized Muslim refugees’ resettlement in the USA, warned that Muslims can be “friendly” but never a “friend” and proposed a “war on Islam” as a solution to the “problem of Islam”. His virulence against Islam and Muslims has shocked people from all backgrounds.

There were multiple responses to Warner’s visit by community members in Moore County and beyond. An op-ed was published in Moore County based The Pilot, that challenged the visit by Warner:
 “I’m disappointed to see that an organization such as the Moore Republican Women’s group is supporting such hate speech despite listing on the front page of their website that one of their core beliefs is “equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, sex, age or disability.” How is hosting this controversial speaker holding true to your core Republican values when you are intentionally denigrating an entire group of people for their religious beliefs?”

Moore County residents Paula Irene DeCarlo and Yasemin Kan organized a grassroots protest in response to Warner’s visit to Pinehurst on May 15th. They were joined with friends from different cities who protested outside the venue of speech. Protesters held signs that said “No to Racism, No to Islamophobia”, “To Learn the Truth of Islam, Ask a Muslim”. Raised as a Catholic, Paula emphasized the need to promote peaceful coexistence through learning, art and creativity. Her son produces music to confront bigotry and racism. Yasemin, a native of Turkey, is dedicated to challenge demonizing and dehumanizing of Muslims. Their actions have inspired many members to speak up against Islamophobia.

Moore County Democrats organized a talk titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” on May 16, 2016. Manzoor Cheema from the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia spoke at  the event. This was a non-partisan talk open to people of all or no affiliations. Participants reflected a great diversity, ranging from educators, financial professionals, artists, military veterans and public officials. The Q&A session dealt with many questions about Islam; connections between Islamophobia, anti-Black racism and other forms of oppression; and how to challenge these oppressions.

Counter-Protest-Bill-Warner-Pic-1 Counter-Protest-Bill-Warner-Pic-2 Anti-Islamophobia-Talk-Pinehurst-Pic-1

Raleigh Community Demands Justice for Akiel Denkins

Raleigh Community Demands Justice for Akiel Denkins

Raleigh African American youth Akiel Denkins was killed by a Raleigh police officer on February 29, 2016. Raleigh citizens have demanded justice for Denkins murder and called for accountability of the law enforcement. Raleigh based PACT (Police Accountability Community Taskforce) has demanded for citizen accountability board and other fundamental changes in the law enforcement. On May 3rd, citizens and activists attended Raleigh City Council meeting and submitted their demands. PACT members and allies demanded that Raleigh City Council:

1) Recognize that data and residents’ experiences demonstrate a systemic pattern of biased policing practices
2) Remaining council people meet with representatives of the coalition before the Council’s June 7 meeting
3) Ensure that city staff provides a response by May 24 to the recommendations previously submitted
4) Make police accountability reforms a public hearing agenda item at the June 7 City Council meeting

Here is an article from the News and Observer that covered May 3rd Raleigh City Council meeting:
“”There are two Raleighs, they said.
There’s one where white people live in comfort and are left alone by law enforcement and one where poor black people regularly endure questionable police tactics, according to some Southeast Raleigh residents.
More than two dozen people showed up to the City Council meeting Tuesday night urging Raleigh to adopt several changes to its police department, from instituting an independent panel that could review controversial police actions to de-emphasizing enforcement of marijuana laws.”
“Denkins’ mother, Rolanda Byrd, stood beside Akiba Byrd, a leader of Raleigh PACT, as he addressed the council Tuesday night.
“This mother is standing here before you right now holding a picture of her slain child for no other reason than he was evading arrest. That is not a death sentence,” Akiba Byrd said.””

A group known as the Raleigh Police Accountability Community Taskforce is asking for the City of Raleigh to adopt eight changes that they say would improve local police practices, which they say are sometimes racist and overbearing. The group’s statement says it is requesting:

1. An independent oversight board that has the power to investigate, subpoena and discipline police when there is injustice.

2. Strengthening of the department’s anti-bias policing police with regular checks on officers’ stop-and-search data.

3. Improvement of officer training and an expansion of Crisis Intervention Training.

4. An end what the group called the bias in stops and searches by requiring written consent-to-search forms.

5. Placing a lower priority on marijuana enforcement.

6. A body-worn camera program that protects people’s rights, privacy and access.

7. An internship program to recruit and retain officers of color.

8. Increased opportunities for positive relationships between community and police.”

Read more here:

Here are pictures from Raleigh City Council meeting

Akiel-Denkins-Raleigh-City-Council-Pic-7 Akiel-Denkins-Raleigh-City-Council-Pic-1 Akiel-Denkins-Raleigh-City-Council-Pic-2 Akiel-Denkins-Raleigh-City-Council-Pic-3 Akiel-Denkins-Raleigh-City-Council-Pic-4 Akiel-Denkins-Raleigh-City-Council-Pic-5 Akiel-Denkins-Raleigh-City-Council-Pic-6


Durham Organizes May Day (International Workers Day) Rally

Durham Organizes May Day Rally to Celebrate International Workers Day

May Day is recognized as International Workers Day around the world. May Day rally was organized by Durham Solidarity Center on Monday, May 2nd, in downtown Durham. This rally was sponsored by twenty organizations, including by Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia. This rally brought together people from workers rights, anti-racism, LGBT rights, anti-Islamophobia, immigrant rights and other movements.

Excerpts from the joint statement, posted on Durham Solidarity Center website:

“On May 2, we invite everyone to join us in Durham to center working-class struggles and the multi-racial, multi-gendered, and multinational working class movement.

The continued mistreatment of workers and working class people must be met with resistance and demands coupled with action. Without justice, there is no peace. We stand in solidarity with international movements to resist worker oppression, imperialism, racism, and Islamophobia. Islamophobia is product of US wars and occupations abroad, and surveillance/institutional repression in the USA. The US South is home to more than 50% military bases in the USA. US law enforcement has entrapped Muslims throughout the country, including in local communities like Raleigh.

We stand opposed to anti-worker, anti-environment, so-called free trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership. We believe that intersecting oppressions of the working class — transphobia, homophobia, racism, patriarchy, xenophobia, ethnocentrism and plain bigotry– must be fought alongside and within the class struggle.

The economy of the U.S. South was built on theft of native land, genocide of native peoples, and centuries of the enslavement of Black people kidnapped from the African continent. Vestiges of this history remain intact today in “right-to-work laws,” the Jim Crow-era ban on collective bargaining for public workers, poverty wages, and the relentless attacks on workers and oppressed peoples’ ability to organize.

Now more than ever, we must build unions, workplace organizations, and other institutions to fight back and build a new economy that serves the needs of the 99%, not the 1%.

People are rising up and fighting back – from the #BlackLivesMatter movement against racist mass incarceration and police murders to the #Not1More movement and fight to end raids and deportations of immigrant families. From the massive statewide uprising against HB2’s attacks on the LGBTQ community to the Southern Workers Assembly and the work to build a rank-and-file workers’ movement that is united with the broader social movements in the U.S. South. In spite of daily attacks, our movements have made this clear: an injury to one is an injury to all!

This May Day, we will take to the streets to celebrate our victories, ready ourselves for future struggles, and send a message to the masses and the powers that be, that we are ready, and we are coming. We carry the spirit of Che Guevara, Fannie Lou Hamer, Assata Shakur, Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, Mother Jones, and all of those who stood for worker’s rights on the frontlines of the class struggle and struggle against all oppression.

Co-Sponsored by:

Durham Solidarity Center

Durham for All

Black Workers for Justice

UE 150 Public Sector Workers Union

Durham Beyond Policing

Duke Students and Workers in Solidarity

Raise Up for $15

Muslims for Social Justice

Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia

Si a las licensias

El Pueblo

Southern Vision Alliance

Faculty Forward Network

Triangle Green Party

Jewish Voices for Peace

ICE Out of NC

Witness for Peace – SE Chapter

Southeast Immigrants Rights Network

Triangle SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice)

Workers World Party”

May-Day-2016-Durham-7 May-Day-2016-Durham-12 May-Day-2016-Durham-13 May-Day-2016-Durham-15 May-Day-2016-Durham-16


Video from May Day rally:


Conference Explores Racism and White Privilege

Methodist Social Action Conference on Racism and White Privilege

We are witnessing a heightened awareness of racism in the recent years, especially with the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The nation is also witnessing a dramatic rise in bigotry against Muslims. Methodist Federation for Social Action – North Carolina Conference Chapter (MFSA-NCC) organized a conference titled “Dare to Hear: An Honest Conversation about Race and the End to White Privilege” in order to confront the issues of racism and Islamophobia. This conference took place on April 9, 2016, at Duke United Memorial Methodist Church in Durham. This conference was part of a conference series in the memory of the late Rev. Jack Crum who dedicated his life to the cause of social justice.

This conference featured speeches and workshops on the topic of racism, white privilege and Islamophobia. This conference explored the themes of challenging white privilege, reparations versus reconciliation, and Islamophobia as a form of racialized oppression. Some of the speakers included Rev. Chris Brady (Pastor at Wilson Temple United Methodist Church), Professor Jennifer Harvey (Professor of Religion Studies at Drake University), Rev. Leonard Fairley (Lead Pastor at St. Francis UMC in Cary) and Manzoor Cheema (Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia).


The North Carolina Conference chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action has been around since the 1980s. We worker such initiatives as open pulpits i.e. churches should open to receive a pastor regardless of race or gender as long as they have the graces to that congregation and issues of peace and social justice.

In 2008 we came up with the idea of hosting a conference that promote prophetic ministry in the conference and we named in honor of Reverend Jack Crum who fought against segregation in spite of the cost. The first Jack Crum Conference on Prophetic Ministry was held at University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill. Topics have included school diversity, child poverty, voting rights, and Amendment One.

Also we work closely with Reconciling United Methodists and Friends NC to promote full inclusion of LGBT persons and the life and ministry of The United Methodist Church.


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