JUNE 24-30, 2021 TRIAD-CITY-BEAT.COM
How it started
How it’s going
‘Take Back Our Schools’ Right-wing protesters oppose critical race theory, target Guilford County Schools’ Black, female superintendent BY SAYAKA MATSUOKA | PAGE 6
senate race for dogs PAGE 9
Aggies to the olympics PAGE 11
ncaa pay to play PAGE 2
JUNE 24-30, 2021
Pay student athletes
t’s tough to jewels. But it’s all other people’s money, get the US “gifted” from wealthy alumni, boosters Supreme and fans, which is also not allowed under Court to vote NCAA restrictions. But, I mean, what are unanimously on they gonna do about it? If the NCAA anything these really wanted to enforce every rule on its days, but on books, they would probably have to susMonday they pend every elite college program under by Brian Clarey all agreed with its purview for at least one season and something I’ve been saying for 30 years: probably four. College athletes should be paid. When I was in college in New Orleans, Everybody knows that college sports the Tulane men’s basketball program was bring in enormous sums for their schools, in the third year of a 4-year suspension particularly the big three of men’s for point-shaving in 1985, which brought baseball, basketball and football. It’s usuthe whole program to a screeching halt. ally enough to pay for the You know why those guys entire athletics division at were shaving points? They an NCAA school, which needed the money. The athletes might include dozens of That year, I had a workdon’t even get other, less lucrative sports study job as part of my as well as staffing for those financial aid. Later, when paid for jersey teams, arena manageI was sports editor of the sales with their ment, coaches’ sevenLoyola Maroon, I got a figure salaries and enough check for my service at names on them. line items to make your the end of the semester. eyes go blurry. What’s the difference They’re all making between that and paying a money — from the athletic director all the sophomore linebacker for his season? Do way down to the guy scalping tickets to a you have any idea how much time it takes ‘Bama game in the parking lot — except to participate in a high-level college sport? the athletes themselves, who don’t even Like all of it. get paid for jersey sales with their names Honestly, I don’t even know why this on them. Not only are they cut out of the is still a debate, why we’ve allowed the enormous revenue stream, in many cases NCAA to run its plantation-like busithey are forbidden to work off-campus ness model for so long, why the Supreme jobs or take money from pretty much Court hadn’t weighed in on it sooner. anybody. White supremacy, probably, and greed. They do, of course. Top-tier college In the NCAA, it’s hard to tell the differathletes roll like rappers: cars, clothes, ence.
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Left: A group of people outside of the Arkansas state capitol protesting the admission of the “Little Rock Nine” to Central High School in 1959. Courtesy of the Libary of Congress. [Photo by John T. Bledsoe] Right: A group of protesters outside of the Guilford County school board on June 17. One protester holding a “NO CRT” sign. [Photo by Sayaka Matsuoka]
(As of Wednesday, June 23)
Documented COVID-19 diagnoses NC 1,011,561 (+2,030)
JUNE 24-30, 2021 | UP FRONT
Coronavirus in the Triad:
Forsyth 36,886 (+47) Guilford County
711 (3 weeks no new deaths)
Documented recoveries NC
35,229 (as of 5/27)
Current cases NC
Hospitalizations (right now) NC
Vaccinations NC First Dose
4,397,880 (42%, +89,257)
Forsyth First Dose
169,511 (44%, +3,241)
Guilford First dose
241,682 (45%, +4,494)
UP FRONT | JUNE 24-30, 2021
Updated standards for social studies in GCS
By Jordan Howse s conversations Teachers are allowed to use about teaching whichever examples they please critical intricacies to achieve the objective, she of race, gender and said. It’s as if Truitt has some identity as well as historical trust in the teachers and princiand systemic discrimination to pals who work, day in and day 5-year-olds continue to catch out for the education of their fire as if it was actually happenstudents. Go figure. ing, there’s been a watchful eye Crosswalks — which comon North Carolina’s recently appare objectives in the new proved social studies standards, standards to objectives in the which is definitely real. old standards — were provided Although the standards were for each grade. So if the old approved in late February, the standards gave the objective North Carolina Board of Educato “understand North Carolina tion voted on the accompanygovernment,” the new staning documents — crosswalks dards would delve into how NC and glossary and strand maps government was founded and (oh my!) — that would help shaped, as well as how women, school systems, districts and indigenous, religious and racial teachers implement the new groups influence local and state standards this government. The The new standards 2021-22 school idea is to give would delve into how year. teachers less leeThe board way in omitting NC government was approved the these historically founded and shaped, documents on a as well as how women, marginalized 7-3 vote, Olivia groups. indigenous, religious Oxendine, Amy and racial groups inJust in case White and Todd this sounds like fluence local and state “critical race theChasteen dissenting. Republicans government. ory,” don’t worry, Lt. Gov. Mark this isn’t for the Robinson and State Treasurer kindergarteners; this is fourth Dale Folwell, who also voted grade level. You know, the against the standards in Februsophisticates. This isn’t pitting ary, were not in attendance. people of color against white The meeting was delayed by folks. It’s being honest about two weeks so Oxendine could the history of this country, and it get clarification on what the isn’t always a pretty picture. definition of is is, and so the K-5 unpacking documents Department of Public Instrucalso were approved. These tion staff could provide citations unpacking documents give of definitions in the glossary. teachers a clearer understandAt the June 17 meeting, ing of how to engage with the Oxendine was unsatisfied with new standards and enhance the exclusion of Sandra Day student comprehension of each O’Connor as the first woman objective. to serve as a Supreme Court Unpacking documents for Justice and the exclusion of the grades 6-12 are up for approval fight for rights of people with in July. There is an effort in the disabilities. Valid points, but she North Carolina legislature to seemed to miss the point that delay implementation until the teachers have brains too. 2022-23 school year, but the A point that Superintendent bill didn’t pass the senate and is Cathy Truitt, also a Republinow back in committee. can, reiterated: The approved The approved and pending documents are just suggestions documents are not required, per meant to serve as guidelines board policy, to implement the for curriculum and lesson plans. new social studies standards.
CITY LIFE June 24-30 by Michaela Ratliff
THURSDAY June 24
Thursday Night Trivia @ Natty Greene’s Brewing Co. (GSO) 7 p.m.
FRIDAY June 25
Ancestral Sculpture Garden Unveiling @ East White Oak Community Center (GSO) 3 p.m.
Artists Vandorn Hinnant and Damien Mathis have created a sculpture garden in honor of David Richmond and Truman Gant. In addition to the unveiling, the event will feature music, food and a raffle for prizes. Although the event is free, 80% of raffle profits will be donated to the East White Oak restoration fund. Head out and show your support. Pride Skate @ Greensboro Ice House (GSO) 8 p.m.
Put on your thinking cap and head to Natty Greene’s for a night of trivia. Enjoy drinks with your team of 4 or less and compete for awesome prizes. Visit the event page on Facebook for more info. Drive-In Laser Light Show @ Winston-Salem Fairgrounds (W-S) 9:30 p.m.
Put on your favorite pride colors and stop by Greensboro Ice House for a night of ice skating in celebration of Pride Month. Purchase tickets in advance at GreensboroIce.com or pay at the door.
SATURDAY June 26
Let’s Craft! Candy Flowers @ High Point Museum (HP) 10 a.m.
This action-packed laser light show includes special effects and high-powered lasers choreographed to musical hits from various genres. This family-friendly event costs just $29 per car. The show is only here for this weekend, so purchase your tickets on Ticket Master.
Drop in at the Little Red Schoolhouse where High Point Museum is hosting a free candy flowers craft class for children ages 0-12. Allergies are no problem as candy used is nut-free! For more info, visit the event page on Facebook.
SUNDAY June 27
Scott Fest @ LeBauer Park (GSO) 5 p.m.
Kettle Cigar Social @ the Brewer’s Kettle (HP) 4 p.m.
WEDNESDAY June 30
Our Band @ the Ramkat (W-S) 7 p.m.
JUNE 24-30, 2021 | UP FRONT
4th Annual Triad Vegfest @ Center City Park (GSO) 11 a.m. This health-centered event will feature plant-based food, Vegucation booths and more. Educational opportunities include how to go vegan, how to eat to live and how to start a community garden. Learn more at TriadVegFest.org Pop the Trunk Food Distribution and Grab and Go @ D-Up Inc. (HP) 12 p.m.
The Delta Kappa Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority with Care 2 Globe, Scott Cares Foundation and other community partners are hosting a giveaway of boxes of food and a hot meal to those in need. For more information, visit the event page on Facebook.
For just $15, enjoy a beverage and a cigar provided by Caldwell Cigars during the Brewer Kettle’s monthly social. Find more info on the event page on Facebook.
A benefit concert in memory of local musician Scott Johnson, who died of an opioid overdose in February, will take place in LeBauer Park. The event will also serve as a fundraiser for Guilford County Solution to the Opioid Problem, GC-STOP. The concert’s performers include talent Johnson worked with in his life, such as Walla Walla and the Brand New Life. A $30 donation is suggested; however, pay what you can. To learn more, visit ScottFestGSO.com.
Justin Poindexter and Sasha Papernik make up Our Band, a duet combining Poindexter’s American Roots background and Papernik’s Russian-American heritage to create a unique sound that’ll take over the Ramkat’s Gas Hill drinking room. Visit OurBand.org and click ‘Tour’ to purchase tickets.
Little Light Bread & Soup Co.
Scratch-made soup and bread for everyone - regardless of ability to pay. Seasonal Italian menu available for dine-in and takeout.
3205 Yanceyville Street Greensboro, NC. 27405
NEWS | JUNE 24-30, 2021
Local group misunderstands critical race theory; threatens Black, female school superintendent by Sayaka Matsuoka
On June 17, a group of Take Back Our Schools members gathered outside of the school board meeting to protest critical race theory, which is not part of Guilford County Schools’ curriculum. Another group of parents gathered nearby in opposition.
n recent months, messages and actions by a vocal group of conservatives directed at Guilford County Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras have become increasingly more threatening, according to some school board members and a sample of messages obtained by Triad City Beat through a public records request. On June 10, during a regular school board meeting, members of Take Back Our Schools gathered outside of the school district offices and began banging on the windows of the building. The members, part of a local conservative coalition of parents and community members who have advocated for an increase in school resource officers, protested an appeals process for suspensions and now oppose critical race theory, pushed through the hedges that flank the outside of the office and pressed their
signs against the windows, prompting of 2021 due to the pandemic, allowing one district administrator and a police for members of the public to submit officer to ask them to step back. As they comments online. protested, they used a megaphone to Whatever the board’s decision, much project their grievances. of the anger by the “Open up the meetgroup has been directed ‘I think that that ings!” towards Contreras, who “Take our power back!” mythology is part has been the district’s su“You work for us!” perintendent since 2016. of an orchestrated On June 17, a smaller “The problem is that group returned with she thinks that she is misinformation Stephanie Mitchell, a local campaign.’ president and CEO,” mother, at the helm. DurMitchell said. “What she – Nora Carr, Guilford County ing the protest, Mitchell has forgotten is that she and others argued that the Schools Chief of Staff is an employee that can school board was keeping be fired. The problem is parents out of the meetthat the school board has ings and shutting down free speech; the given all of their authority to her so they board voted that day to reopen meetings couldn’t fire her even if they wanted to.” to the public starting in July. The meetContreras received an increase in ings had been conducted virtually and temporary authorization from the school livestreamed for much of 2020 and half board back in March 2020, because of
special circumstances brought upon by the pandemic. During the March 13, 2020 meeting, the school board voted unanimously to allow Contreras to “act as expeditiously necessary to protect the health and welfare of students and staff of Guilford County Schools” by “temporarily [waiving] board policies allowing the district to implement appropriate response measures related to COVID-19.” Nora Carr, chief of staff for the school district, told TCB that Contreras has not used her emergency authority once during the pandemic. Carr also noted that the school board has the authority to vote on whether or not to rescind those powers at any time. “I think that that mythology is part of an orchestrated misinformation campaign,” Carr said about Take Back Our Schools’ notion that Contreras is acting as a dictator. She also noted that many
How conservatives are using critical race theory to galvanize local communities
uring the protest outside of the building on June 17, the group of mostly white parents held signs that read, “Open up the meetings” and “You work for us,” which addressed the fact that the meetings hadn’t yet been physically opened up to the public yet. However, at least one parent held a sign that read, “No CRT.” CRT, or critical race theory, dates back to the 1970s, a platform acknowledging that racism is systemic, institutional and pervades virtually every aspect of American society. After the publication of the New York Times’ 1619 Project led by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones in 2019, Republicans conflated the two and began attacking the project as “propaganda” and passing legislation prohibiting the teaching of the project in K-12 schools. And in March, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson launched a new initiative called “FACTS” in which those concerned about critical race theory being
taught in schools could submit grievboard, many parents expressed their ances via an online form. concerns about CRT being taught in Despite loud conservative calls against schools. One white protester who didn’t CRT, it is widely accepted that the wish to be named claimed that antifa, a teaching of critical race theory doesn’t left-wing, anti-racist political movement take place in K-12 schools. Accordwhich is often used as a scapegoat by ing to Education Week, an online news conservative media outlets, was behind resource about K-12 education, bethe push for critical race theory in cause critical race theory is more of a schools. framework and lens rather than specific “I think it’s teaching hate, it’s critical teachings, “much scholarship on CRT race theory and it’s teaching children to is written in academic language or pubhate each other because of the color of lished in journals not easily accessible to their skin,” she said during the protest. K-12 teachers.” “That’s why we have such poor situaEven so, lawmakers in states around tions in our streets with antifa…. It’s the country, including North Carolina, just what it is. We have people out in the have introduced bills that would restrict streets fighting because they hate each teaching critical race theory or limit how other for nothing because the mainteachers can discuss racism and sexism stream media has preached that to them in the classroom. Based on Education along with higher education.” Week’s analysis, 25 states have introKhem Irby, the school board member duced such bills with eight states having for District 6, who has served since 2018, enacted bans. said she wonders what Take Back Our In NC, HB324, introduced in midSchools, which is mostly comprised of March, passed the House 66-48 — with white parents, is trying to achieve. all Republican support and none from “You say you’re advocating for all Democrats — in May children and you’re a and is now in Senate predominantly white committee. The bill, group,” Irby said. ‘CRT is not in our also called “Ensur“Who are you really district.... I think ing Dignity and advocating for?” Nondiscrimination The parents and there’s been a lot of in Schools,” would concerned community discussion about it, prevent teachers from members who have but the facts are it’s promoting certain been protesting outconcepts related to side of the Guilford not part of our race or sex. One of County School board curriculum.’ the concepts prohibmeetings for weeks are – Pat Tillman, Guilford County school ited by the bill reads not alone. According board member, District 3 as follows: “That the to reporting by NBC belief that the United News, the debate States is a meritocracy is an inherently around critical race theory is spreading racist or sexist belief, or that the United across the country as high-profile RepubStates was created by members of a licans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis particular race or sex for the purpose of speak out against it and further galvanize oppressing members of another race or their base. Conservative media outlets sex.” such as Fox News have also spotlighted Education Week writes that bills such the issue, further elevating the conflict in as this one are “so vaguely written that the national sphere. it’s unclear what they will affirmatively In September, Tucker Carlson invited cover” and that they “could have a chillElana Yaron Fishbein, a mother who ing effect on teachers who might selfhad been fighting against CRT in the censor their own lessons out of concern suburbs of Philadelphia, onto his show, for parent or administrator complaints.” giving her and her group, No Left Turn Tillman, a Republican member of the in Education, a spotlight. Since then, school board, stated clearly that critiFishbein’s group has grown to 30 chapcal race theory is not taught in Guilford ters in 23, according to the NBC report. County Schools. In an op-ed for Real Clear Politics, a “CRT is not in our district,” he said. right-wing conservative news outlet, “It’s not a part of the curriculum…. I former President Donald Trump stated think there’s been a lot of discussion that “students are being subjected to a about it, but the facts are it’s not part of new curriculum designed to brainwash our curriculum.” them.” Still, during the June 17 protests And as superintendents and school outside of the Guilford County school boards across the country deal with the
backlash created by the conservative right around critical race theory, Guilford County’s Black, female superintendent is dealing with increasingly harmful threats.
CRT and the targeting of a Black, female superintendent
ince her hiring in 2016, Guilford County Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras has faced her share of criticism and hate. Last year, before the pandemic, parents expressed outrage when the district allowed students to be bussed to early-voting sites, citing a liberal agenda and targeting Contreras. A few months later when the decision was made to postpone graduations and host them virtually, the threats came in again, and prompted a security detail for Contreras, according to school board member Winston McGregor. With the increasing debate around critical race theory, the threats against the school board in general and Contreras specifically, have escalated, McGregor said. The protesters’ conduct at the June 10 meeting solidified McGregor’s feeling that the rhetoric should not to be taken lightly, according to McGregor. “I have been on the board since 2018,” McGregor wrote in a text to TCB. “I have been attending meetings since 2013. While there have been protests outside before, they always wrapped up before meetings and of course there have been times when speakers from the floor and those seated were very passionate. But I have never seen or interacted with the kind of anger and vitriol that we saw that night. They express a kind of contempt that feels dangerous, even reckless. In light of events of the past year — the plot against the Michigan governor, the siege of the Capitol, escalating gun violence, I am very aware that that kind of contempt can turn destructive quickly. It is scary.” At least one protester outside of the school board meeting on June 17 appeared to admit that they had been at the Jan. 6 rally at the Capitol. Protester Myra Schloemer was speaking into a megaphone before the meeting and advocated for acquiring lawyers for the group in case any of them were arrested for protesting. “If you have any loose change anywhere, we would try to get two or three lawyers… for various things,” Schloemer said. “If one of us ends up in jail to help get out because of these people. I mean, we were there on the 6th and the FBI
cont. on pg. 8
JUNE 24-30, 2021 | NEWS
school districts around the state, not just Guilford County, enacted similar emergency authorization for superintendents last year. At-large board member Winston McGregor and District 3 member Pat Tillman told TCB the increase in authority does not change Contreras’ contract, which was renewed in 2019 for the next four years. It also does not prevent the school board, which determines her job status, from terminating her contract. “The legal authority of a duly elected school board is still intact,” Tillman said. “That still stays and remains. School boards hire and fire superintendents; that’s how it is.” McGregor stated that there is broad support for Contreras amongst a majority of the board members and that she has the respect of many in the city. T. Diane Bellamy-Small of District 1 who has served on the board since 2016, said she doesn’t see why there would be any mention of firing Contreras. “Why would there be?” Bellamy-Small asked. “If you look at her performance record, she has knocked it out of the record during the pandemic.” Contreras was named Superintendent of the Year by the North Carolina PTA in 2019 and a North Carolina Regional Superintendent of the Year last year. In early 2020, she was also a finalist to be picked as President Joe Biden’s education secretary. The position eventually went to now-secretary Miguel Cardona.
NEWS | JUNE 24-30, 2021
‘CRT School’ cont. from pg. 7
hasn’t found us yet so… any one of us could experience this.” Later, when asked what she meant by “the 6th,” Schloemer declined to elaborate but said she opposed CRT and that she felt like Contreras had “all of the power.” Schloemer is not alone in her antipathy towards Contreras. A trove of messages sent through the school district’s “Let’s Talk” messaging program acquired by TCB through a public records request range from grievances about CRT to direct threats to Contreras. Many of the messages are racist in nature. On June 14, an individual named Bob Lee sent a message with the subject line, “Emergency power lie.” In his message, he targeted Contreras and then shifted blame to the school board as a whole. “It is high time authoritarian tyrants be removed and held criminally liable for the reign of anti American, anti family stances they have chosen,” wrote Lee. “It is far past the point of reminding the superintendent that she is a PUBLIC servant who [can] and WILL answer to her constituents, the PUBLIC. If this doesn’t happen immediately she should resign or be removed from her position. Get your fucking shit together, quit hiding like the fucking cowards you have proven yourselves to be. SHAME ON YOU ALL.” Another message from John Dawson on June 13 also called for Contreras’ termination. “MS. CONTRERAS, WHY ARE YOU NOT ALLOWING PARENTS INTO BOARD MEETINGS?? WHAT ARE YOU HIDING?? WHAT KIND OF A FAR LEFT, ANTI-WHITE RACIST, INDOCTRINATION GULAG ARE YOU RUNNING? ARE YOU PUSHING ANTIWHITE CRITICAL RACE THEORY TO HAVE WHITE STUDENTS FEEL GUILTY ABOUT THEIR SKIN COLOR? ARE YOU AN AFICIONADO OF BLM THUGS? HOPEFULLY A PETITON WILL BE CIRCULATED TO TERMINATE YOUR EMPLOYMENT.” Another message from a Brian Jenkins advocated for a “Thank You White People Day.” “Due to all the inaccurate information about White [sic] people (the most generous race in the world), perhaps Guilford County Schools can create a ‘Thank You White People Day’ to celebrate their enormous generosity,” Jenkins wrote. “They allowed millions of
poor non-White immigrants (expensive) of a YouTube video by the Next News from all over the world to immigrate to Network headed by Gary S. Franchi Jr. their country and enjoy a high standard out of Illinois. The channel, which has of living even though they’re going to about 2 million subscribers, is a conserbecome a minority in the United States.” vative, conspiracy content channel that Still, other messages appear to stop churns out fake stories. In the past, Franjust short of threatening physical harm. chi has posted videos claiming that Hill“Dear Sir or Mam [sic], I have several ary Clinton had Parkinson’s disease and questions about our school board,” that antifa is to blame for the wildfires on wrote Clark Higgins on June 16. “1. the West Coast. Both claims have been Why are a bunch of single cat ladies aldebunked by multiple outlets. On June lowed to have anything to do with kids? 15, Franchi posted a video entitled, “NC 2. How did the lowest IQ demographSuperintendent Shuts Out Parents from ics in the world end up making up the School Board Meeting — LOOK What majority of the school board? 3. How is Happens Next.” it our schools are failed, but you people In the video, which runs about five keep doubling down on this critical hood and a half minutes long, Franchi alleges rat theory garbage? 4. How is it that that critical race theory is being pushed people who have criminal backgrounds into schools and that members of Take and connections to sex offenders have Back Our Schools were kept out of the made it on to school board? Please anschool board meeting. In reality, the swer these questions and fire yourselves school board meetings are, and have or else.” been public; they just have been liveNone of the school board members streamed and members of the public are listed on the state sex offender reghave been able to submit comments istry. online. During the The email address video, Franchi runs ‘That’s a direct for Higgins is prouda clip from a WFMY email@example.com. attack on someone. News 2 report in As TCB has reported Contreras states It’s a form of bullying, which extensively, the Proud that opening up the harassment. As a Boys are far-right, physical space again is self-described “Westschool board member, not up to her, but up ern chauvinist” outfit to the school board to I think it’s only right that has been desigwhich Franchi scoffs, nated as a hate group for us to make sure “Yeah right. Ah yeah, by the Southern she’s just pushing it that we protect our Poverty Law Center. off, pushing it off. Oh employee.’ While members of my goodness, you – Khem Irby, Guilford County the group are varied, see how these people school board member, District 6 the Proud Boys have deflect?” been associated with After the clip, and have coordinated violent incidents Franchi makes the claim that the school such as the Unite the Right rally in board was keeping parents out because Charlottesville, Va. From 2017 in which they didn’t want to hear pushback about anti-racist protester Heather Heyer was critical race theory. killed. Ten Proud Boys were also charged “It’s all to control the narrative,” Franwith assault in Oct. 2018 after attacking chi said. “What they want to do is brainanti-fascist activists in New York City wash our children to hate this country and most recently, members have faced so that when the time comes, they have charges related to the Jan. 6 insurrection a weakened citizenry and they can just at the US Capitol. cancel America altogether. That’s the Given these facts, McGregor said main goal of the Marxists: They do not that she’s increasingly concerned for the want us to free.” superintendent’s safety and wellbeing. Since it was posted, the video has gar“I think it’s unethical to incite vitriol,” nered more than 38,000 views and was McGregor said. “This is happening in posted on the Take Back Our Schools select other districts where there are Facebook page, where it was shared 11 strong women-of-color leadership. There times. The first comment on the thread are outside agitators who are tied to is by a woman named Connie White other extreme activity. You see it through who writes, “Contreras needs to go.” fake email accounts and fake news stoDuring the June 17 school board ries and manufactured crises.” meeting, one officer from the GreensOne fake news story that elevated the boro Police Department was present as group’s local protests came in the form was one deputy from the sheriff’s office.
Carr, with Guilford County Schools, said that the district couldn’t comment on under investigation or provide details regarding security but said that they are taking the situation seriously. “We view this as a very serious matter and have reported our concerns to law enforcement,” Carr said. “Based on their input, we are updating our safety protocols and will take the appropriate steps to protect our superintendent, school board, staff and visitors.” When asked about additional security for Contreras based on the threats, Jim Secor, the public information officer for the sheriff’s office, stated that “at present neither Dr. Contreras nor anyone from Guilford County Schools has notified the sheriff’s office about any threats to the Dr. nor requested action from our agency regarding any threats.” Ron Glenn, the public information officer for the Greensboro Police Department, told TCB that they had been contacted by school administration about email correspondence they have received. “The correspondence will be reviewed to check for any violations of criminal law,” Glenn said. “The police department will continue to communicate with school administration and take all appropriate measures.” School board member Irby said she questions the group’s singular focus on Contreras. “That’s a direct attack on someone. It’s a form of bullying, harassment,” Irby said. “As a school board member, I think it’s only right for us to make sure that we protect our employee.” Tillman, the representative for District 3, was not present at the June 17 meeting due to military training, but said that even though he wouldn’t necessarily conduct himself that way, that he doesn’t see the protesters as a problem. “If they are close to the windows and no one is hurt, I don’t see a problem with it,” he said. “I wouldn’t personally do that, but I think these folks are pretty harmless.” School board member Bellamy-Small said as a Black woman, she has also experienced also as a public servant and said she is taking the threats seriously. “I have dealt with this before, people calling me names, the N-word,” Bellamy-Small said. “I think that there are appropriate concerns for folks particularly with us seeing what happened in January. You have a group of people that will go over the boundaries.”
Fear and delusion in the 2022 Senate race
e won’t have Sen. Richard Gov. Pat McCrory, who presided over the Burr, Wake Forest University’s state after the Republican takeover in 2012 most sock-less graduate, to and was the architect of the transphobic kick around come 2022, when HB2 “Bathroom Bill” that sowed misunderhe retires, a promise made literally months standing and hate amongst our citizenry, after he won his last re-election in 2016. and cost North Carolina many millions Burr once considered himself the most in lost tourist dollars as well as canceled conservative member of the Senate. But film shoots, sporting events and business that was back in 2010, when all you had relocations. to do to be a conservative was love guns, Guilford County’s Mark Walker has hate abortion and push hard against acted like the seat is his to lose since he anything Barack Obama declined to run for re-elecwanted to do. Burr upped the tion in his re-drawn Congresante by actually reading bills, sional district in order to Richard Burr understanding policy and concentrate on his Senate looks like holding an authoritative voice campaign. Dumbledore on national security. But the only person from compared to And Burr looks like freakin’ Trump’s circle who’s endorsed Dumbledore compared to those vying to Walker in this race has been the Republicans vying to take Mulvaney. And nobody take his place. Mick his place. even remembers who that is. First we have Trump’s Forgotten in this converchoice, Rep. Ted Budd, the gun-shop sation is that this is the seat that once owner who won his congressional seat belonged to John Edwards, before he ran after a 17-way primary to replace the for president and made an absolute fool of departed Howard Coble. Trump, who anhimself. And that, despite a long, disturbnounced this surprise endorsement at the ing run by Sen. Jesse Helms, Democrats NCGOP conference earlier this month, have always fared better in NC Senate probably liked Budd because he was a races. full-throated supporter of the Big Lie, and Helms notwithstanding, most of the exerted his influence to overturn the 2020 Republicans we’ve had in the Senate of election. And he almost certainly did it late, such as Liddy Dole, Lauch Faircloth because Mark Meadows, his former chief and even sitting Sen. Thom Tillis and Burr of staff, told him to. himself, bear no resemblance to the rabid But Burr, despite having a name spelled candidates coming in from the right in to similarly to Budd, has endorsed former 2022.
JUNE 24-30, 2021 | OPINION
CULTURE | JUNE 24-30, 2021
Culture by Brian Clarey
Patika Starr tries life as a square
ven on lunch break from her day job, in sensible shoes and navyblue scrubs, Patika Starr is a walking piece of art. It’s something in the way she carries herself, how her makeup is just a little bit extra for a workday, her vector-perfect eyebrows, the filigreed septum ring that no one else has. When she’s on stage twirling fire or spinning a hoop, or dancing atop those stilts, the effect is sublime. But after decades in Greensboro’s liveentertainment avant garde, Patika Starr is trying to become a square, putting the spotlight behind her so she can work at the office full time, have weekends off and concentrate on (gulp) sales. When the carnival feels mundane, the mundane seems carnivalesque. “I know, right?” she says. “It will be kind of nice to have a regular schedule, a regular paycheck, insurance.” To truly realize the absurdity of this turn of events, one must understand that Patika goes all the way back to the first days of the flow arts in Greensboro, its birth in the warehouse rave scene amid new drugs and urban atrophy. She was spinning fire in downtown Greensboro before Babylon’s rave series in the late 1990s, giving blacklight performances as far away as Charlotte, throwing lounge parties at the Exchange on Tate Street when the city was still more like a town, and an underground scene could remain clandestine for a time. She had been hosting socials at Artistika and providing unusual performance art at events and in spaces all around the Triad when Richard Harris came to see her perform at Much, Joey Medaloni’s new restaurant on South Elm Street in 2004. Harris was the owner of Castle McCulloch, a genuine castle in Jamestown built in 1832 on grounds still lush with trees and laced with trails, featuring a small, clear lake. He had an idea to host events at the space, which up until then had been mainly used for weddings. He had no idea what he was in for, Patika says. In 2005, she helped create the first Castle Carnevale, the event which eventually became a Mardi Gras celebration. “In the original Carnivals we did elaborate dinners before the shows,” she says. “We had a king and queen. I put together skits and acts for the private dinner. That was crazy because
Patika’s career as an entertainer go back to the rave days of the 1990s, amid new drugs and urban atrophy, when an underground scene could remain clandestine for a long time. For her, a 9-to-5 seems exotic.
we didn’t have budget to hire a stage manager for me, so I had two simultaneous dinners going on within the castle and the Crystal gardens. I would be running back and forth at top speed between the two places to make sure all the acts were running on time and doing their thing. I really had to hire people I trusted because I could not be at two places at once, but I tried my best to be.” Now, the castle holds upwards of five events a year, including wedding shows and the Beer & Fear Bash, a Halloween extravaganza. She’s hired hundreds of acrobats, aerialists, drag queens, strippers, hoopists, contortionists, dancers and bands. She created the Freak Parades, judged the costume contests, performed as the Snow Queen at Christmas Castle and has flown across the lake with the fire wings of the phoenix. And though she will consult on future events, Patika says that part of her professional life is done. It has, of course, been incredible. “My favorite part was working with all the talented performers over the years and building those relationships,” she says. “I booked a lot of performers from Charlotte, Raleigh
and Virginia…. So many of them became friends over the years and the castle events became like a reunion where we would all reconnect. Then they started collaborating together too. I loved seeing this happen.” And there were changes in the crowd as well. Costumes were more of a peculiarity at the first Carnevale events, as opposed to the heavily masked Mardi Gras events today. She would see how regular attendees stepped up their costuming game over the years. And she also watched them become more accepting of lifestyles alternate to their own. “I’ve watched the crowd learn,” she says, “learn to be more open to LGBTQ+ people, learn to become more open-minded and more accepting. I see straight men tipping drag queens now.” So what now? She’s not quite sure, but like any great performer she trusts her instincts and her training. “There’s a new Patika evolving,” she says, “and I’m not quite sure who she is yet. But I know I’ve got to let go of some older things to create room for the new.”
NC A&T’s track stars qualify for the 2021 Summer Olympics
by Sayaka Matsuoka
slice of Greensboro is headed to Tokyo next month for the 2021 Olympics. On June 20, four track and field athletes from NC A&T State University ran in the Olympic Team Trials, with one qualifying for the US men’s 400-meter Olympic team after coming in third. Sophomore Randolph Ross Jr., 20-yearsold, finished with a 44.74 time in the men’s 400-meter final at the University of Oregon to capture his spot representing the US next month. His fellow Aggie, senior Trevor Stewart, finished fourth in the men’s 400-meter final with a time of 44.90 and will be a part of the men’s 4x400-meter relay team. Two other Aggies — graduate student Akeem Sirleaf and junior Daniel Stokes will run for Liberia and Mexico, respectively after qualifying. On Monday, Ross Jr. and Stewart, along with Ross Jr.’s father, the univerERIN E. MIZELLE ERIN E. MIZELLE sity’s track and field coach Duane Ross, NC A&T ATHLETICS NC A&T ATHLETICS held a press conference to answer questions and reflect on their achievements. Senior Trevor Stewart finished fourth in the men’s Sophomore Randolph Ross Jr. celebrates with his dad, Duane Ross, after 400-meter race and will be part of the relay team. placing third in the 400-meter race. Ross is the coach of the track team. “Of course we had a very exciting weekend and anytime you can put an NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Both athletes talked about how their training schedules had athlete on the Olympic team, that is Field, where the Olympic trials were held a week later. During to be tweaked during the pandemic and how they had more just history in the making,” said Coach that event, Ross Jr. won the 400-meter race with a 43.85 time, off time than they normally would have. They also didn’t get Ross. “It is very, very hard to make the the fastest time in the world this season and the secondan opportunity to compete in either the 2020 NCAA Indoor Olympic team. Trust me, I know.” fastest time ever posted at the NCAA championship meet. Track and Field Championships or the NCAA’s outdoor season Ross won the Bronze Medal at the Stewart and Ross Jr. also competed to win the 4x400-meter because of the pandemic. Still, they talked about staying 1999 World Championship in Athletics in relay. focused and using the extra time to train for the Olympics, the 110-meter hurdles and competed in Now, going into the Olympics in July, both Ross Jr. and Stewwhich was postponed one year. the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. art said that they’re going to take the next week off, but then “What I mainly had to do was stay focused and run my He has been the director of A&T’s track it’ll be time to get back to training. Ross Jr. in particular says pattern and remember who I am,” Stewart said. “It actually and field team since 2012. he’s going to listen to his dad’s advice because he’s been the got more intense. We had more on the line. We had to double “This has been a dream ever since one coaching them to success all these years. down and refocus and in different ways, stay motivated.” we’ve been growing up,” said Ross Jr. “Listening to him has got us this far so obviously he knows Ross Jr. echoed Stewart’s notion that the training was more “This is as far as it gets what he’s talking about,” Ross Jr. said. “But going into that big intense coming into the trials. in the track and field stage and witnessing the energy is going to be very different. “The usual two months we have before world.” Seeing the television cameras, the crowds, I know it’s going break, it turned into three or four, so you Stewart, who has to be different from anything we’ve ever experienced. I know had a lot of athletes coming in more out been at A&T since there’s going to be distractions…. So, when it comes to trainof shape than normal,” Ross Jr. said. “And 2016, says he’s seen the ing and locking in to competition, he’s been in that position so considering how long our season was going program grow into the he knows what to do so just listen to him.” to be coming in this year, we had to increase powerhouse it is today, Throughout the call, the father and son duo were asked our strength to make it through the rounds adding that his and - Randolph Ross Jr., NC A&T about the significance of Ross Jr. qualifying for the Olympics this year, so strength training was one of Ross Jr.’s accomplishSophomore on Father’s Day. The coach responded that it was one of his the key factors that we worked on this year ments will help elevate proudest moments as a father and his son explained that it’s along with the intensity and the level that HBCU’s to the national going to be hard to top. Then, Ross responded with the one we had to work at to compete with these conversation. goal on everyone’s mind: “Now bringing that gold medal home times and these athletes in this program. So overall, things “This is definitely a big moment, not in Tokyo, that right there, that might give this one a little bit looked easy. But in the inside, we were going through it at just for me but for HBCUs as well,” of a run, so let’s try to get that gold medal.” practice and we still are.” Stewart said. “This is going to project us The Olympics will take place from July 23 to Aug. 8 in Tokyo. One of the remarkable things about Ross Jr. and Stewart’s farther into the public view and it’s gotimes during the Olympic trials was the fact that just nine ing to be something to watch.” days earlier, both athletes participated and won titles at the
JUNE 24-30, 2021 | CULTURE
‘This has been a dream ever since we’ve been growing up.’
CULTURE | JUNE 24-30, 2021
East White Oak Community Center to unveil sculpture honoring David Richmond, Truman Gant
by Nicole Zeniker
he paint is peeling and the landscaping needs work. The windows are dingy; some could stand to be replaced. The East White Oak Community Center is in need of repair. Enter Sunny Gravely Foushee. Foushee, who grew up in Greensboro, took dance classes at the community center as a young girl. Recently she went back to the building and saw it was falling apart. Soon after, she joined the Preservation Greensboro board. As part of this organization that funds revitalization projects in Greensboro, Foushee has given grants to minority artists who have not always been funded to the same extent as white artists by the organization. “I noticed there weren’t any AfricanAmerican organizations that we were pressing to preserve,” she says. “Since then, we’ve been amplifying the East White Oak Community Center, the Magnolia House, etc.” With the support of Preservation Greensboro and a $4,800 matching grant from Creative Greensboro, the COURTESY PHOTO community center is creating a sculpArtist Damien Mathis portrays David Richmond, one of the A&T Four, in graduation regalia for the new sculpture. As part of his ture garden to honor David Richmond, research, Mathis spoke to those who knew Richmond in real life. one of the A&T Four, and Truman Gant, East White Oak co-founder and commuhe was surprised by how little information he found online. nity leader. His previous work includes sculptures of Harriet Tubman, Lois The A&T Four led the 1960 GreensMailou Jones and Jacob Lawrence. He hopes his work will give boro Sit-In at Woolworth’s that kicked a voice to the past. off the Civil Rights Movement. RichFoushee chose both Mathis and the other artist, Vandorn mond’s descendants plan to be at the Hinnant, out of several applicants. Hinnant, has had several sculpture unveiling on June 25. sculptures already featured around the Triad in both public art Richmond was born and grew up in commissions and solo exhibitions. Greensboro. He did not graduate from For this project, Hinnant designed a steel bench with a maNC A&T State University because of the hogany seat. The bench fans out at the sides and has a white threats he received over his activism. oak tree in the back. A&T awarded him a “The idea of bringing people together to posthumous honorary the east white oak community uplift them is always at the forefront of my degree in 1990. center is located at 1801 10th St. in thinking,” said Hinnant. “Everything I creArtist Damien Mathis greensboro. the sculpture unveil- ate is intended to be for the edification of portrays Richmond in ing takes place this saturday. humankind.” graduation regalia in his visit facebook for more info. Foushee’s hope for this project is to bring sculpture. He’s wearing both beautification to the community center a blue cap and black and to uplift hidden historical figures. She gown. herself is an African American woman from east Greensboro “When you honor someone, you have and says she has not seen a lot of attention to the amenities to honor them, their descendants and on this side of town. how the world changed because of Many of the buildings she loved as a girl are now falling them,” Mathis said. “It’s a great responCOURTESY PHOTO apart. sibility and I feel honored to be part of “Over the years, all these resources have depleted,” said Artist Vandorn Hinnant designed and created a bench to it.” Foushee. “This is the perfect time to pay attention to those commemorate Truman Gant, co-founder of the East White Oak Mathis was able to meet with people areas and give back.” Community Center. who knew Richmond in his life and said
JUNE 24-30, 2021 | SHOT IN THE TRIAD
SHOT IN THE TRIAD
Sandy Ridge Road, Greensboro
CAROLYN DE BERRY
Whitaker Farms flowers at the Piedmont Triad Farmer’s Market.
PUZZLES | JUNE 24-30, 2021
‘There’s Norway’—you might get a Peace Prize when you’re done. by Matt Jones
Across 1 Home planet of TV’s ALF 7 Sex ed subj. 10 Tests for college credit, briefly 13 Constellation whose name means “eagle” 14 “The Andy Griffith Show” kid 15 “High School Musical” star Efron 16 Keeps going and going 17 Quite skilled 19 Tavern gambling game, in some states 21 One more than zwei 22 It may get tacked on 23 Features erroneously added to male cows in some cartoons 25 Streaming device maker 29 More encrusted 32 JFK flier, once © 2021 Jonesin’ Crosswords (firstname.lastname@example.org) 33 Smokey Robinson song that was covered by The Jackson 5 36 Veterans will mention it’s not their first 37 Offensive or defensive player 38 Mature, legally 42 Taco Bell taco variety with a unique shell 45 Ozone depleter, for short 48 Strengthen 49 Subway map dot 50 Reason for excommunication 52 “___ appetit!” 54 Nastase of tennis 55 Started to stall, like a bad Internet connection Answers from last issue 62 Chicano rock band with the apt debut album 25 1980s D.C. monogram “How Will the Wolf Survive?” 26 “Well, well, well!” 64 ___ Creed (church recitation) 27 Floored, as a boxer 65 Singer Kamoze with the 1994 hit 28 Well-trodden “Here Comes the Hotstepper” 30 1977 Burton role in “Roots” 66 Venti, e.g. 31 Not certain 67 “Dollface” actress Povitsky 34 Pillages 68 Part of MS-DOS (abbr.) 35 Crafts that are also called UAPs 69 Night before (as of 2021 news) 70 Create a new draft of 39 Do something Down 40 Marshmallow residue 41 Prescience of a sort 1 Sports announcer Albert 43 They Might Be Giants title character who 2 Prefix for lateral “proudly stands at the rainbow’s end” 3 Ilsa ___ (“Casablanca” character) 44 Reverend known for confusing initial letters 4 ___-en-scene (stage setting) 45 Restaurant chain with a green and red logo 5 Icy 46 Arson, e.g. 6 Ex-ballplayer who wrote “Juiced” 47 Tense situation 7 Get a glimpse of 51 Fish sometimes wrapped in rice 8 Gauzy, like a light dress 53 Staticky output 9 “No Sudden Move” actor Benicio ___ Toro 56 Move like lava 10 Sky blue hues 57 Cat-loving poet’s initials 11 Indianapolis five 58 “Great White North” sketch show 12 Flaky metamorphic rock that sometimes gets 59 City north of Utah Lake laughs in high school geology 60 Wallet stuffers 14 Plastic ___ Band 61 “OK, now where ___ we?” 18 Like the length and width of most crossword grids 63 Sugary suffix 20 Description for some conditioners 24 “Cats rule, dogs ___” (“Homeward Bound” line)
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Published on Jun 24, 2021
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