A statement from NoRa
We established NoRa to be a community gathering spot. Beyond just a place for a cup of coffee, our mission is to create a comfortable space that all feel welcome, where we gather as friends old and new, showcase local artists, authors and businesses, and create a space for dialogue and education. This past weekend we welcomed a group of peaceful protestors into NoRa to take a brief respite as they walked from the Durham Police Dept to Raleigh to submit a list of demands for systemic change within the law enforcement system. It was a bold reminder of how these are our fellow neighbors who cannot and should not be doing this alone. In the midst of all the noise, there has been too much silence -- including our own. They need and deserve our full, vocal support.
We have been working for the past few weeks on a response plan to the call to action our country and community currently demands. More than a hashtag or a quote on our wall, we as small business owners need to make it clear what we stand for and against. We believe the acknowledgment of systemic racism is apolitical. This is a matter of rights all humans deserve. Racism exists within our community and our country. Education, awareness, dialogue and yes, peaceful protests are a necessary part of change. And definitively, Black Lives do Matter.
We have been asking ourselves, what can NoRa do? Our rotating art gallery as well as our bookshelves and author talks have showcased a diverse group of artists over the past year. Currently, we are working with the local art community to showcase art and literature by and about persons of color particularly as it addresses the subject of race. We will be launching a new exhibit in the coming weeks. Since we continue to observe social distancing practices inside NoRa, we are also planning some online book readings. As education plays an integral role in meaningful societal change, we have several picture-book authors we are excited to share with our younger NoRa family members.
As a physical representation, we are installing a light that will be on 24/7 to represent that openness, acceptance and diversity are welcome at NoRa…intolerance and hate are not. We should be a light for those that need us and a voice for those whose voices have been silenced.
As part of our commitment to the NoRa community, we are forming a not-for-profit organization with the goal of building the community we all deserve. We will enlist members of our community to help determine what NoRa and this initiative will do to ensure we are supporting our community most effectively and meaningfully. For those interested in more information in the initiative, or to offer suggestions or recommendations please email Community@NoRaCafeNC.com.
Matt & Colleen