On Dec. 5, eleven anti-racist activists will return to court in Durham, N.C. to face charges stemming from two demonstrations against white supremacy and Durham’s Confederate monuments.
Call 919-808-3010 and tell the Durham County District Attorney to drop ALL the charges now! The courts have continued the trial for months now, while it attempts political maneuvers designed to both weaken the movement and punish rightful dissent.
Nine of the activists are charged in connection with the removal of a Confederate statue on Aug. 14, just days after the resistance to the fascist attack in Charlottesville and the murder of Heather Heyer. The other two face charges related to a community mobilization to defend Durham from an announced march by the KKK on Aug. 18. It will be the first time all eleven will appear in court together.
Community activities and supporters will gather at the Durham County Courthouse (510 Dillard Street) on Dec. 5 beginning at 9 a.m. There the community will brainstorm ideas regarding what should replace the former monument. A press conference will be held at the conclusion of the court hearing.
“The events of August 14 and 18 were acts of community service and defense. We have to remember what happened just a few days before in Charlottesville, Va., when white supremacists and Neo-Confederates terrorized, occupied, and brutalized its residents. Heather Heyer was murdered, and many other anti-racist activists were injured,” said Loan Tran, who is facing charges in connection with the monument removal. “The eleven facing charges have done their service to the community. We call on D.A. Roger Echols to immediately drop the charges.”
Thousands across North Carolina and the U.S. have signed petitions and participated in three call-in days to drop the charges – the most recent on Nov. 30. The case has garnered national and even international attention, with many unions and other progressive organizations submitting statements noting the significance of the Durham actions and pledging support to beat the charges.
“Removing symbols of white supremacy from our community is not a crime. What happened on Aug. 14 was a service to the Durham community and an example of taking righteous action, a small step to correct centuries of injustice,” said Jess Jude, one of those facing charges in connection with the statue removal.
Invitation to be a witness for the defense
If D.A. Echols chooses to pursue charges, community members across Durham will be invited to sign up to be witnesses for the defense.
“We will invite all those who believe that Durham is a better place without the monument – that the monument had no value to our community, and was in fact a liability – to sign up to be a witness for our defense. We will set up an online form and email to collect your testimony,” said Elena Everett, one of those facing charges in connection with the statue removal.
Invitation to submit your ideas for what should replace the former Confederate monument
The #DefendDurham group will also open a community contest for Durham residents to submit ideas of what should replace the pedestal where the Confederate monument once stood. During the Dec. 5 court hearing, art supplies will be set up outside the courthouse for people to begin to submit their ideas.
Today and tomorrow, flood the Durham County District Attorney’s phone lines! Call 919-808-3010 and tell the DA to drop the charges against the 11 anti-racist activists!