Month: January 2017

Lanterns for community “Light Up” Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill – Every table to decorate lanterns was jam-packed on Saturday at the Light Up Festival, but Ying Zhao and her 3-year-old son, Jayden Ren, managed to find a spot. With Jayden in her lap, Zhao helped him put paper cut-outs on a lantern. “Are you enjoying this, Jayden?” she asked, and he nodded. She turned and smiled. “He means yes,” she said. “I know there’s a lantern tradition. We just came out because it sounded like something fun to do.” This was Light Up’s first year, and the event, which took place at University Place, drew far more people than organizers expected. By the looks of it, thousands of people had come through the mall and decorated lanterns, played games, watched performers, and eaten foods from the many vendors. Huina Chen, head of the organizers of the event, estimated 10,000 people attended. Chen is the vice-chairwoman of the PTA at the Chinese School of Chapel Hill, which hosted the event. She said the idea for the event actually came from Chapel Hill Mayor …

History in a time of change: Standing in Pauli Murray’s “Proud Shoes”

There’s a moment in Pauli Murray’s book about her family, “Proud Shoes,” where she expresses shock at learning as she dug through genealogical records that one of her great-grandfathers, Thomas Fitzgerald, had indeed once been a slave. Fitzgerald lived most of his life as a free man, but his past had been carefully concealed from his descendants, it seemed, out of shame. At learning this, Murray wrote: “I would always be in rebellion… until people no longer needed legends about their ancestors to give them distinctiveness and self-respect.” Murray’s stories still provide ample material for the debates of our time on race, heritage and identity. Gone are the old iron-clad divisions when it comes to race. But the old battlegrounds have been scattered via pop culture to a larger world, resulting in new fights and possibly, new walls. For instance, if you have a black father and a white mother, are you black or are you white? That is apparently still a much-debated question. When Paris Jackson, daughter of pop icon Michael Jackson, said she …