Monday Memo is a regular column from the Chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners. You can sign up to receive this and other Orange County news in your inbox.
The current edition is posted below.
Monday Memo: June 27, 2022
Journey of Reconciliation 75 years later
A diverse audience gathered in the old Orange County Courthouse on Friday, June 17, 2022, to witness Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour sign Motions for Appropriate Relief for Bayard Rustin, Igal Roodenko, Andrew Johnson and Joseph Felmet. Judge Baddour exonerated the four civil rights activists, two Black men and two white men, who were arrested in Chapel Hill in April 1947 for violating Jim Crow segregation laws--laws that were a violation to humanity.
Rustin, Roodenko, Johnson and Ferment were among an interracial group of men who participated in the Journey of Reconciliation of 1947, sitting side by side on buses while riding through the South. Many historians refer to this as the original Freedom Ride. None are still living, yet their names have been cleared. "They were testing the Supreme Court ruling (Morgan v. State of Virginia), which at that time was the first step that allowed desegregated interstate busing," said Baddour.
We planned the ceremony for June 17 to coincide with the Juneteenth holiday weekend. Special thanks to Amy Zowniriw, Roodenko’s niece, and Walter Naegle, Rustin’s partner, for speaking during the event. Photos from the ceremony, as well as a link to the video, are available on the Orange County website here: https://www.orangecountync.gov/2937/Journey-of-Reconciliation.
For the sake of who came before us, of those living today, and for our future generations, we should seek to correct the narratives of our American history and thereby promote justice.
County approves budget, reaffirms commitment to public education
On Tuesday, June 21, the Board of County Commissioners adopted the operating budget and capital investment plan for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2022. The budget includes an increase in our per pupil spending to $4,808 per student, funding for the expansion of Durham Tech on the Orange County campus, the return of Sunday hours at the main library, the creation of a mini-park in Perry Hills, and more.
The Board of County Commissioners will take a break from meetings in July and August and will resume our normal meeting schedule in September.
Groundbreaking for new EMS station
Orange County will host a groundbreaking for a new Emergency Management Services (EMS) station in Efland on Thursday, July 14, at 3 p.m. This is the first stand-alone EMS station the county has built in many years and will help improve our service in the western central part of the county. The public is invited to this event.
More details will be available on the Orange County website when they are confirmed.
Please visit the Orange County website for summer activities for children of all ages. Local artists are holding Summer Camps at the Eno Arts Mill, and financial assistance is available. And watch for special family fun events happening around the county during July and August.