Black Lives Matter

Three men have been charged for carrying firearms in downtown Asheville on June 21 at a demonstration, according to the Asheville Police Department.  

Mayor Steve Schewel stands for a portrait inside Durham City Hall.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

The new fiscal year started this week, a time when local governments implement the new budgets they spent months working on over the spring.

In the city of Durham, that budget has been the subject of a protest for several weeks now. In particular, demonstrators object to a 5% increase in funding for the city’s police department, which is getting more than $70 million over the next year.

Graham Protests
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Activists in Alamance County are calling for policy overhauls to prevent police brutality, especially against Black people. And another group of protesters want a Confederate monument removed from downtown Graham, the county seat.

At anti-racism rallies and marches across the country, protesters are coming face to face with police — but also with heavily armed civilians. America’s gun laws make it difficult to diffuse the tension.

This is no ordinary year.

A pandemic is sweeping across the world as cries for changes to address systemic racism fill the streets of American cities. The economy is reeling, and a presidential election is looming. But sometimes self-expression thrives amid turmoil.

In this Sunday, June 21 image, a message of 'DEFUND' points to the Durham Police Headquarters. The street art was painted as part of the Black Lives Matter protests in the city.
Chuck Liddy / For WUNC

In the month since George Floyd’s killing sparked protests nationwide, some demonstrators in Durham have literally taken their message to the police.

Aunt Jemima syrup bottles
Mike Mozart

As the country reckons with the systemic racism upon which it is built, major companies are making statements of their own. Some address inequities and enumerate actionable steps to combat racism. 

Jay Price / WUNC

Crews in Raleigh removed the largest remnants of a 75-foot-tall Confederate monument that sat near the grounds of the state Capitol for 125 years.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

North Carolina is just one of five states this year with concurrent races for the presidency, U.S. Senate and the governorship. Protesters demanding police reform and racial justice, and the pandemic from the coronavirus, could impact how these elections turn out.


Demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality are now in their third week in Charlotte. On Monday evening, about 75 protesters gathered at uptown's First Ward Park just before a light rain began to fall.

Hundreds of protesters took to downtown Raleigh on Saturday, May. 30, 2020 to denounce the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier in the week.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

After more than two weeks of protests in downtown Raleigh, protesters are demanding change from the city's leadership, particularly in its police department.

Justin and his buddies look like they're from a special ops team: They're wearing military-style vests and carrying rifles and pistols. But they aren't military, and they aren't police.

"I see myself as a concerned citizen who happens to be armed," he says.

They won't give their last names, citing safety and job security. But on a recent evening they are standing watch over about 200 protesters at a rally about the death of George Floyd in Missoula, Mont.

A Confederate flag flys outside of Darlington speedway in 2015.
Terry Renna / AP

The familiar scene of Confederate flags waved by fans at NASCAR tracks could soon be a relic of racing's good ol' boy roots.

A man hold a sign at a protest in downtown Raleigh on May 30, 2020 to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier in the week.
Peyton Sickles / For WUNC

The city of Raleigh lifted its curfew and state of emergency on Monday, a week after it was imposed on residents.

A referee holds a basketball during an N.C. State women's basketball game at Reynolds Coliseum in 2020.
Mitchell Northam / WUNC

Several professional and college sports teams in North Carolina are ending their partnerships with CPI Security, a home security company based in Charlotte, after the firm’s CEO told an activist that people should focus on “black-on-black crime” rather than the protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd.

Victor Lytvinenko, via Instagram / https://bit.ly/3f0G8I0

Add North Carolina's capital city to those sporting a bold message denouncing racism painted in large yellow letters on a city street.

Image of Asheville police car
Osajus / Flickr Creative Commons

The police chief in Asheville has apologized for the destruction of a medic station that was set up for people protesting police brutality and the death of George Floyd.

A crowd gathers in downtown Raleigh on Tuesday night to protest the death of George Floyd and violence against black Americans.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

Daily protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis have spread across North Carolina. While the message of these demonstrations is slightly different in each city, there has been a broad call for overhauling the way police officers do their jobs.

Protesters and police in riot gear face off at demonstrations on Sunday night in Raleigh.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Images and video from Saturday and Sunday nights in Raleigh have ricocheted across the internet. Cameras captured heavily armored police and sheriff’s deputies pushing protesters with sticks, the air thick with tear gas. On Sunday, Raleigh Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin criticized the rioting and looting that took place.

People gathered outside CMPD headquarters in uptown Charlotte on May 30 to protest. (WFAE)
Nick de la Canal / WFAE

The police department in North Carolina's largest city is coming under criticism after a video posted to social media appeared to show officers using chemical agents on demonstrators who were boxed in while protesting the death of George Floyd.

(Thursday 10:00 p.m.) - Thursday night’s vigil in Pack Square went off peacefully, with protesters leaving as organizers urged before the 8 p.m. curfew went into effect.  

Protests in Greensboro began Tuesday night with people taking a knee and doing the black power salute to remember why they marched: for George Floyd, who died last week in Minneapolis while in police custody, and also Marcus Smith, who died in Greensboro
Naomi Prioleau / WUNC

Cities across the Triangle and Triad witnessed a night of peaceful demonstrations, more than a week after the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

In the past week, protests have taken place throughout North Carolina, and across the country, in response to the death of George Floyd. Floyd, who was born in North Carolina, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis last week. In a video, Floyd can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” while the officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.

The ongoing protests are also fueled by historic and longstanding violence and institutional inequalities perpetrated against black Americans- inequalities that have been illuminated by the pandemic’s death toll.

We talk with William Darity, director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center for Social Equity at Duke University, and the co-author of the new book “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century.” We also hear from Brianna Baker, a public health analyst with RTI International, about attending a protest in Raleigh on Saturday and why she feels an urgency to organize despite a pandemic.


Melissa Sue Gerrits / Carolina Public Press, via AP

Police officers in Fayetteville took a knee in solidarity with protesters Monday, two days after the city had experienced violence and looting.

Police in riot gear protect the old state capitol building in Raleigh, N.C., on Sunday, May 31, 2020.
Allen G. Breed / AP

Updated at 4:17 p.m. on 6/1/2020.

North Carolina’s capital city is enacting a curfew starting Monday night, after two nights of protests sparked by the latest killing of a black man by police led to street fires, store break-ins, and fireworks being thrown at officers.

Volunteers work to clean up and repair damage in downtown Raleigh, N.C., after a night of angry clashes between police and protestors left much of Downtown Raleigh damaged on Sunday, May 31, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Protests broke out in several North Carolina cities over the weekend. Almost all of them began peacefully, but as darkness descended each night, violent confrontations and looting took place in Fayetteville, Charlotte, and Raleigh. It was particularly damaging in the state capitol, where protestors damaged almost every storefront on Fayetteville Street.

Raleigh city and police officials held a press conference Sunday morning to discuss unrest in the city Saturday night.
Jason de Bruyn / WUNC

Gov. Roy Cooper is scheduled to hold a news briefing to discuss last night's unrest in cities across the state in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Watch live here starting at 4 p.m.:

At a press conference Sunday, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said there were two protests Saturday night: one peaceful, the other violent. She said to the second group: "You are not Raleigh."
Jason de Bruyn / WUNC

North Carolina's capital city is cleaning up after a night of protests in response to the death of George Floyd led to what the city's police chief described as "anarchy."

An image from Bright's series '#1960Now' that explores the parallels between the Civil Rights Movement and the current  #BlackLivesMatter movement today.
Sheila Pree Bright

Photographer Sheila Pree Bright first picked up a camera in search of a means of personal expression. After her first public exhibit, it was clear that not only did she have a gift for making beautiful images, but her work also sparked thoughtful and unexpected conversations about race, politics, and justice. Bright first came into the national spotlight with the series “Suburbia,” which explored black suburban life in Atlanta.

Colette Heiser

CJ Suitt is a young black poet living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. And he has a simple and frightening question, "Would I be shot if I called the police?"

CJ uses his poetry to combat stereotypes and to build bridges of understanding. But he admits, in the wake of yet another series of high profile killings of black men by the police, something has changed. CJ no longer feels safe walking at night.

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