More possible Silent Sam demonstrations at UNC Chapel Hill Thursday

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

CHAPEL HILL, NC (WTVD) -- More than one week after Silent Sam was pulled down at UNC-Chapel Hill, more demonstrations could be taking place on campus Thursday.

Information has been circulating on social media about two Silent Sam events that are scheduled. One is for Silent Sam supporters and the other for opponents of the controversial Confederate monument.

One is listed as a "Silent Sam Twilight Service." It says: "On this night we will respectfully, calmly and honorably show remembrance to Silent Sam." It asks people to take flowers, cards, and tokens for Sam. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists ACTBAC NC, which is organizing the event, as a hate group.

Another Facebook event is being called a dance party and speak out. It says "Come dance, speak out, shut them down, and show them that hate is not welcome on our campus." This counter-protest is organized by "UNC Students of the Silent Sam Sit-In."

Ph.D. student Lindsay Ayling is getting the word out.

"Our sit-in is a counter-protest against white supremacist groups so it's your personal decision whether you decide to attend, however, I think it's important to send a strong message that anti-racists are more powerful and we have the numbers," Ayling said. "We need to show by standing at Silent Sam that we're stronger than they are."

Despite who's organizing the demonstrations, people on both sides, who are passionate about the future of the controversial Confederate monument are expected to turn out.

Scott Felts said he plans to be at the vigil. He said his ancestors fought for the Confederacy.

"I would probably bring just myself, maybe a postcard," Felts said. "But just be here in observance and show my respect. People need to understand this is not an issue of racism. This is not an issue of hate."

"It's kind of an ungovernable, exciting event that people are stepping up to hold the space, just as people stepped up to topple the statue," said Dr. Altha Cravey, UNC Associate Professor. She's also a member of a group called "Move Silent Sam." Dr. Cravey said she supports the toppling of the statue and wants charges against those arrested dropped.

ABC11 reached out to ACTBAC NC for comment but hasn't heard back.

UNC-Chapel Hill released a statement on Twitter about Thursday night.

UNC Police also filed another warrant for a charge of "affray," related to the Saturday protest, according to officials at UNC-Chapel Hill.