'Save our Shaw': Demonstrators protest rezoning of HBCU in Raleigh

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Saturday, June 10, 2023
Demonstrators protest rezoning of HBCU in Raleigh
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"We want to modernize but we don't want to commercialize our university"

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The chants echoed down South Street in Downtown Raleigh Saturday afternoon.

Demonstrators walked in the shadow of Shaw University to try and keep their HBCU the way they know it.

"We want to modernize but we don't want to commercialize our university," said Eugene Myrick, a 1994 graduate of Shaw. "As of now this thing has been held up, and it's been held up because of these people who keep showing up to city council."

Eyewitness News has documented this battle since February as dozens have shown up to the city council to fight a rezoning effort that would allow the university to build up to 30 stories in the heart of campus.

But even today organizers aren't sure of the plans.

"They're trying to go down from 30 stories to maybe five to 10, but they still have yet to have a conversation with. It still does not put a buffer around any of our historic buildings," a protester said.

Shaw said its rezoning request reimagines possibilities for the HBCU. It would lease parts of the campus to developers for modern retail offices and residential space. But people like Eugene fear what comes after that including more gentrification.

Leaders of the mosque on campus also marched Saturday. They still haven't gone back inside since they were locked out during the pandemic.

"That is where our mosque is located," said Imam Juma Mussa. "We pray five times a day."

People this afternoon insist the mosque closure and the rezoning debate are the same issues.

"What they're trying to do is separate, divide and conquer because of what they see," Myrick said.

City Council tabled the rezoning vote and more discussion is expected to happen at its next meeting on June 20.