The incident was recorded after a neo-Confederate group held a rally with Alamance County’s young Republican chapter at a local speedway.
On a Saturday afternoon in Alamance County, one Elon computer science professor and her husband stood up to racism riding through her streets.
A neo-Confederate group called Alamance Co. Taking Back Alamance County and the Young Republicans of Alamance County had planned a Sept. 19 Trump support rally at Ace Speedway in Elon.
The professor, Megan Squire, knew the rally would move from the speedway to the streets so she decided to protest. “I decided that someone has to stand up against this,” said Squire. “I grabbed my ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign and I just picked the busiest intersection.”
Equipped with her sign and a camera, Squire says it only took 52 seconds before participants in the parade began shouting at her. Squire explained in a Twitter thread: “They call me by name, yell ‘white power,’ then to my BLM sign: ‘no they f—ig don’t, b—h! Go back home c—t.” Later, another protester told her it was “a great day to be a Trump supporter” and “Confederate Lives Matter.”
The following morning, the Young Republicans of Alamance County took to Facebook to distance themselves from the events that followed the rally. “As a Christian I am called to love all people and I find all forms of racism unacceptable in any circumstance and it has no place in our society,” wrote Chairman T.L. Mann. Later in the post, Mann claimed he was not among the convoy and he went to get his oil changed after the rally.
Graham Mayor Jerry Peterman was not present at the rally, but saw the events unfold online.
“(I) was appalled at the hate and racism displayed by a few individuals,” Peterman told Cardinal & Pine. “The City of Graham will and does not condone such behavior.”
Alamance County has been a hotbed for protest this year. A Confederate statue still stands in Graham at the Alamance County courthouse. The statue has been well-protected by the Alamance Board of Commissioners, who voted to keep the statue in place earlier this month.
Squire and other longtime Alamance County residents understand that a history of bigotry still lingers in the area. “It’s like a wound that never got healed,” said Squire. “Today, it’s just a very divided county. we have the (Elon) University folks and a small nugget of progressivism. And then that’s surrounded by some folks that are really resistant about that.”
Ricky Hurtado, a Democrat running for the NC House of Representatives in the district, said he holds local leaders responsible for failing to crack down on racism. “Our local officials and representatives, especially Rep. Stephen Ross, have stood on the sidelines and not publicly condemned incidents such as the hate rally we saw,” said Hurtado. “In a moment when our community and nation continues to grapple with racial injustice, we should all feel comfortable calling out this behavior and making sure everyone knows it has no place in our community.”
Ross, an incumbent Republican running against Hurtado this fall, did not return requests for comment on this story.
While she may teach computer science, Squire still makes sure her students know they can make a difference, regardless of profession.
“Just because you’re a computer scientist, doesn’t mean you can’t have a role in trying to make the world a better place in terms of dismantling these kinds of systems and rebuilding something better,” said Squire. “We all can play a part if we think about our skills, and how those can be applied.”