Roses and raspberries

April 30, 2013 

Did you ever have a mother or grandmother who was so busy cooking, serving and cleaning up she never got to sit down and eat with the family?

If you did, you might have thought of her two weeks ago when Nerys Levy flitted about the back of the McDougle Schools cafeteria, herding people to their seats, making sure everyone had enough to eat and then, when folks got up, swooping in to clean tables.

It’s not something Levy and Mildred “Ma Dip” Council, co-organizers of the annual Orange County Community Dinner, do for money or a thank you. So let’s take a moment to give Roses to both of them now.

At a time when diversity is much in the news, these selfless women continue to put on an event that celebrates and brings together the best of all of us – white, black, Latino, Burmese and anyone else that enters the door.

Roses too to all the volunteers, performers and sponsors of the annual Community Dinner.

The main meal featured food from Mama Dip’s Kitchen, The Carolina Inn as well as desserts and entrees prepared by the Chapel Hill Kehillah, Hadassah, Margaret’s Cantina, Chapel Hill Restaurant Group (411, West, Squids, 518 West, Spanky’s and Mez) Med Deli and many more.

Dinner hosts included members of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate program who along with their parents, mentors and the Orange County Jammers made people feel welcome. In the wings, Muriel Williman of Orange County's Waste Management Department, helped make sure anything that could be recycled or composted was.

Performers included Rasheed Timmons, the Bolin Creek String Band, Latino dance groups Folklorico Pedro Cortez, Danza Azteca Tonazin and the Second Baptist Church Dance Group, Carrboro Poet Laureate Jay Bryan and Dignity-two emerging singers from Chapel Hill High School. WCHL’s Ron Stutts (does he ever rest?)and Marlyn Valeiko from the Department of Housing, Human Rights and Human Relations co-emceed.

Roses from Shamecca Bryant, executive director of the Orange County Rape Crisis Center to Project Dinah, a student organization at UNC that works for awareness and prevention of interpersonal violence.

Each year, Project Dinah hosts a fundraising event to support the Rape Crisis Center. This year, they organized the “I’m A Survivor” benefit concert at He’s Not Here. Local bands performed covers of hit songs by Beyonce and Destiny’s Child.

“This event brought together hundreds of campus and community members in a stand against sexual violence,” Bryant writes. Further, the event raised over $4,500 to support the Center’s programs and services in Orange County. “We deeply appreciate the hard work and generosity of the members of Project Dinah as well as the outpouring of community support shown for us and our mission at the benefit concert,” Bryant adds.

Raspberries to those responsible for the signs giving preferential parking to Chapel Hill Public Library patrons who pull up in hybrid vehicles.

We should all do our part for the environment, and lowering emissions is one of a zillion ways to do that. But as reader Doug Lorie pointed out in Sunday’s letters to the editor, the sign rewards those able to afford the expensive new vehicles at the expense of everyone else.

There was a germ of a good idea in this. But it’s sprouted some unintended consequences.

Let’s pull the signs.

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