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First Amendment Rights Challenged in Alamance County

Statue defenders and anti-racists went face to face in Graham on July 11.
Statue defenders and anti-racists went face to face in Graham on July 11.

Protests continue in Graham over the town’s Confederate statue and the local history of racist policing. Over the weekend, the Alamance County seat hosted hundreds of protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement and local social justice organizations. They were met by law enforcement and more than 50 counter-protesters with ties to ReOpen networks and white supremacist organizations.

Host Anita Rao talks with WUNC's Naomi Prioleau about first amendment rights and ongoing protests against police violence and white supremacy in Alamance County.

Last month, the mayor of Graham shut down the protest permit-approval process. While the ban was lifted after four days, on July 1, legal advocates from the ACLU and local NAACP are challenging the constitutionality of the city ordinance on granting protest permits. The lawsuit alleges, “The Ordinance unconstitutionally blocks two or more people who wish to protest — and even single individuals who seek to march while carrying a sign — in Graham from doing so without a permit, subjects those seeking a permit to vague and, in effect, content- and viewpoint-based standards, and severely restricts the size and conduct of protests for which a permit is obtained.”

WUNC’s Greensboro reporter Naomi Prioleau describes to host Anita Rao the ways she saw protesters and armed counter-protesters treated differently by law enforcement during the weeks of demonstrations.

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Anita Rao is the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.
Grant Holub-Moorman is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina.