18 January 2023
HOLLY SPRINGS N.C. (WNCN) – Tuesday night, community members rallied outside the Holly Springs town hall, advocating for a non-discrimination ordinance (NDO).
But this isn’t the first time.
The town first looked at the idea following the Wake County’s adoption of an NDO across unincorporated areas, with the support of the majority of its urban municipalities.
Holly Springs, along with three other Wake County towns, have not signed on.
Tuesday, supporters of the ordinance urged town leaders to revisit the idea.
“Our seniors, our minorities, the black community, the Asian community, the Islamic community, LGBTQ community, let everyone, all walks of life feel as if Holly Springs is one,” Reverend Jahmar Cobb said. “When we find ourselves presented with challenges, we cannot act as if they don’t exist, we cannot turn our back as if it does not matter.”
The Wake County ordinance allows people to report discrimination based on race, hair, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, pregnancy, marital or familial status, sexual orientation, gender, ancestry, veteran status, religion and age.
Under the Wake County-funded NDO, participating municipalities can work with Campbell Law School to find a resolution between the complainant and company.
In June, the Holly Springs town council decided not to adopt a non-discrimination ordinance, citing unknowns about the impact on businesses.
Other community members voiced their challenge to the NDO Tuesday.
“While I believe it is a worthwhile statement, it does nothing to actually protect individual citizens,” resident Steve Bergstrom said. “We cannot legislate out bad behavior, but what we can do is avoid implementing legislation that opens us our town, and our small businesses, and individual citizens to discriminatory legal practices.”
Resident Jack Turnwald said they have heard first-hand accounts of discrimination based on sex, socio-economic status and race in the town.
“There are significant disparities that exist in this town and there are ways to begin addressing them,” Turnwald said.
Mayor Sean Mayefskie and the council did not address public comments but stopped multiple times to remind people to settle down and hold applause.
“I want you to be respectful of everybody speaking here. We’re all residents of the same town,” Mayefskie said.