Orange County Has a New, Collaborative Racial Equity Plan But Some Residents Worry It’s More of the Same – INDY Week – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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Carrboro resident Betty Curry began paying attention to local racial equity issues when she saw the way her grandsons were treated in Chapel Hill–Carrboro City Schools. 

Curry, a mother of three and grandmother of nine, says Black students are given far more suspensions and are scrutinized more by school resource officers. Seeing this through the lens of her grandchildren, and learning how it directly contributes to the school-to-prison pipeline narrative, made Curry determined to work toward change. 

“A lot of the school policies are only applied to Black students,” Curry says. “That’s been an ongoing battle in this district on how our children are treated. They don’t say ‘racism’—a lot of people don’t want to accept or admit that race is in everything.”

Recently, Curry has gotten involved with the Orange County Racial Equity Plan—a newly developed, multi-municipality effort intended to unite often well-intentioned but slow-moving local governments to work toward dismantling structural racism and ensuring that potential impacts on marginalized communities are fully considered in every decision.

The initiative, officially known as the “One Orange” Orange County Racial Equity Plan, will see the towns of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough join with Orange County in this effort. The plan is available for viewing on Orange County’s website. Organizers say they hope it will serve as a living document, one that doesn’t just gather dust on the shelf. 

Curry is skeptical, and she’s not alone in thi


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