The North Carolina NAACP and the Forward Together Moral Movement announced a sit-in at the State Capitol planned for Monday.
The organizations held a press conference Friday condemning House Bill 2, as they held signs calling it “Hate Bill 2.”
House Bill 2 reversed a Charlotte ordinance that allowed people to use the bathroom based on their gender identity and extended protections to transgender individuals.
NAACP President Rev. William Barber said the bathroom provision of the bill was only a small part of the bill. It also prohibits local municipalities from making anti-discrimination policies and from establishing a local living wage.
“Do not be surprised that they would lie here and say that this is about bathrooms when really it is about manipulating the vote. It is bringing together homophobia, racism and classicism in a way that’s been used as long as we had to fight against racism,” said Barber.
Barber accused those who passed the bill as playing a political game.
“They got bad numbers in the polls, so what do they do?” said Barber, “they take this old playbook, this old poisonous brew, they shake it and mix it all up and put it in one bill.”
Last Sunday, Governor Pat McCrory appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and defended the bill as pushing back against government overreach and upholding our common expectations of privacy.
NAACP Attorney Al McSurely was confident that the legal battle challenging the bill would be successful.
“We are going to win this, we going to win it legally,” said McSurely. “The question is how much money do we spend, how many young people do we injure, how many suicides do we create, while they’re playing their games.”
Last week, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a ruling that prevented a Virginia transgender teenager from using the boy’s restroom at his school. That ruling could have an effect on House Bill 2, especially in regards to Title IX funding.
Barber noted that now, all eyes are on North Carolina.
“A movement is not national because it has a Washington DC address; it’s national because of its impact. Over and Over again I heard people saying North Carolina is the epicenter, and the fight that we are waging in the Forward Together Moral Monday Movement, is the center of the universe of fighting back,” said Barber.
On Monday, the groups plan to hold a mass sit-in in Raleigh as well as deliver a petition to Governor McCrory’s office.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-news/moral-march-against-hb-2-planned-for-monday
NAACP leaders called for a “speedy” and “transparent” investigation after a Raleigh Police Officer shot and killed a man on Monday.
According to Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown, 29 year-old Officer D.C. Twiddy was pursuing a man when the officer shot and killed him near the intersection of Bragg and East Streets in Raleigh.
Deck-Brown said that the State Bureau of Investigation was leading the investigation. Dr. William Barber, leader of the NC NAACP said that any conclusion of the investigation should be accepted.
“That has to be the attitude of anyone who is leading a police force. We are going to do a through, impartial investigative with transparency and wherever the truth leads,” said Barber.
The mother of the deceased cried as she stood next to Barber. She said she has not yet been able to formally identify the body.
“She is entitled to know why her son, somebody’s brother, somebody’s nephew was killed and this investigation should be resolved in a speed manner,” said Barber.
Police have not released the name of the man who was killed but several media reports and the NAACP press conference identified him as 24-year-old Akiel Denkins.
In her statement on Monday, Police Chief Deck-Brown said that a firearm was found near the scene. “Initially, it is known that a firearm was located in close proximity to the deceased suspect,” Deck-Brown said, “that weapon, along with all other elements available at the scene, will be processed.”
Deck-Brown also told reporters that the man was a suspect wanted on a felony drug charge but Barber cautioned against letting that control the narrative surround the shooting.
“A warrant for arrest is not a license to kill,” said Barber.
Authorities say Officer Twiddy has been with the Raleigh Police Department since 2009. Twiddy has been placed on administrative leave until the completion of the investigation.
On Monday evening hundreds gathered near the site of the shooting. Barber said that historical tensions between African-American and police are present in Raleigh.
“This tension is present in most cities and Raleigh is no exception to that history, all of us in America dealt with it,” said Barber. “The NAACP’s very existence grew out of some of this kind of tension.”
A preliminary report of the shooting is expected to be released within five days.http://chapelboro.com/featured/naacp-calls-for-transparent-investigation-into-raleigh-shooting
A group delivered a public records request to the UNC System General Administration offices on Tuesday regarding the firing of Tom Ross as System President and the subsequent hiring of Margaret Spellings.
Members of the North Carolina NAACP Youth and College Division along with members of Faculty Forward gathered at the C.D. Spangler Building on Tuesday morning asking for information about the hiring of Spellings to lead the 17-campus UNC System.
Longtime Chapel Hill civil rights attorney Al McSurely said that the group felt the board violated the state’s open meetings laws when hiring Spellings, the former U.S. Secretary of Education under George W. Bush.
“We believe this caucus secretly met in person, electronically and by phone to make decisions in an effort to avoid the strict sanctions of the open meetings law,” McSurely said.
McSurely said that he expected a response that some of the records requested are personnel files and therefore not subject to open records laws. He countered that they are “more than personnel matters, this goes right to the heart and soul of this university.”
McSurely added that the power the Board of Governors holds is given to them by the residents of North Carolina and the board members should be held accountable for their actions.
“We also pass laws – that’s the people, over at the people’s house – to prevent a small band of ideologues, bent on stealing rather than guarding our state treasure, to at least conduct their thefts in broad daylight,” McSurely said.
The group was protesting the 2015 firing of Ross that led to a much-criticized search process culminating in the hiring of Spellings. Kierra Campbell is a senior at UNC. Campbell said she was speaking out against Spellings for the President-elect’s connection with for-profit higher education.
“I came to UNC to get an education,” Campbell said. “I came to UNC to get a liberal-arts degree, and I’ve grown as a holistic person because of my education at UNC.
“And I believe any privatization of any type of education system is not going to allow other students to get the same opportunity.”
Altha Cravey is an associate professor at UNC and a member of the group of faculty speaking out against Spellings known as Faculty Forward. Cravey said she believes Spellings’ attitude toward students and faculty will be a detriment to the University System and the state.
“Margaret Spellings talks about students as customers,” Cravey said. “She does this repeatedly, and this is indicative of the ideology she holds that education is a private thing and not a public thing.”
Campbell said that she takes issue with Spellings and the process which resulted in her election as President.
“You’re hiring someone to represent us, to represent our needs, to fight for us and this woman doesn’t know us,” Campbell said. “She doesn’t know what students need. She doesn’t know what it’s like being on a campus. She’s not even a previous educator.”
Campbell added, “[Spellings] cares about the interest who put her in that power. She cares about corporate interest, and she cares about making money. And that’s what she’s good at, and that’s what she knows how to do. She doesn’t know how to take care of me.”
McSurely said the group was hopeful that the information would be delivered before the March 15 primary election is held in North Carolina.
Spellings’ first day as System President is set for Tuesday, March 1. The first BOG meeting under Spellings’ leadership is slated for March 4 at Fayetteville State University.http://chapelboro.com/featured/naacp-requests-records-over-hiring-of-margaret-spellings-as-unc-system-president
Despite freezing temperatures thousands came to downtown Raleigh Saturday morning to protest for voting rights and other causes.
The tenth annual Moral March on Raleigh and HK on J People’s Assembly was organized by the NAACP.
Handwritten signs called for healthcare for all and an end to private prisons, among dozens of others.
Tyler Swanson, an NAACP youth leader, said Raleigh was a good place to hold such a march.
“We stand in a city, we stand here on the shoulders of the great youth that came before us, to organize, to pave the way for us so that we can live in a better future,” said Swanson.
Advocates, like Kim Porter with NC Warn, spoke out for environmental protection.
“It’s a moral issue and an environmental justice issue when we worry about the water we drink, the air we breathe and the food we eat,” said Porter.
The event began near Shaw University before making its way down Wilmington and Fayetteville streets to the state capitol, with marchers chanting along the way.
The main theme of the march was voting rights. The NAACP is the lead plaintiff in a recent federal case regarding North Carolina’s photo ID requirement to vote.
Even though supporters for presidential candidates were there, Rev William Barber, leader of the North Carolina NAACP, said the march did not support any specific politicians.
“You can come but you can’t have the movement, you can’t hijack the movement, whoever you are supporting that’s fine but we are supporting economic sustainability, addressing poverty and labor rights,” said Barber.
Critics of the movement say that their demands would cost tax payers thousands of dollars.
Organizers passed out filers encouraging people to register to vote, as well as spreading information for the upcoming primary.
“At the end of this march we are going to do a mass organizing and we need to sign up thousands of youth to join a volunteer army,” said Barber.
Marchers were enthusiastic and the energy was high but it remains to be seen if these efforts will increase voter turnout on Election Day.http://chapelboro.com/featured/thousands-attend-annual-hk-on-j-march-protest-voting-rights
Thousands are expected to march on the state capitol Saturday morning to protest voting rights, minimum wage and representation for all.
This will mark the 10th annual Moral March on Raleigh.
Dr. William Barber, leader of the North Carolina NAACP led a press conference announcing the march.
The march comes as a federal trail against North Carolina’s voter ID laws concluded last week. The NAACP was the lead plaintiff in the case, now Barber said they are taking the fight to the streets.
“This is our Selma, this is our time, this is our vote. We are fighting in the legislative halls, we are fighting in the court rooms but we are also determined and organized to fight in the street and to show up at the ballot box,” said Barber.
The ruling from the voter ID case isn’t expected to come down before primary voting begins in March, so voters will be required to bring a photo ID to vote unless they can prove a reasonable impediment such as disability, transportation or lack of proper documents. Lawmakers added the reasonable impediment clause last summer after a similar law in Texas was declared unconstitutional at face value.
Proponents of the bill say it helps prevent voter fraud. Opponents of the photo ID law say it disproportionately affects minorities.
“We believe that it is a tragedy that 50 years after the signing of the Voting Rights Act we have less voting rights today than we did 50 years ago,” said Barber.
North Carolina’s voter laws have changed rules regarding early voting and same day registration, though only the requirement to have a photo ID was being challenged during the trial.
Barber said he wanted to disprove the idea that anyone’s religious or personal beliefs would exclude them from the march.
“We are in fact made up of people who are deeply theological and conservative. I am,” said Barber.
Instead Barber advocated to judge policies on a moral basis.
“We look at policies based on, not personality but are those polices morally defensible, constitutional consistent and economically sane,” said Barber.
Critics have labeled the marches as left-wing activism.
Organizers of the event will also focus on registering voters and sharing information about the upcoming election.
“This will not just be a march, where we march and then go home. This is an organizing mobilization in the public square,” said Barber.
The mass moral march on Raleigh will begin at 9 am with an opening rally at Shaw University followed by a march down Fayetteville Street to the state capitol.http://chapelboro.com/featured/massive-moral-march-on-raleigh-planned-for-saturday
The much-debated North Carolina voter ID law was back in federal court this week.
Local Assistant District Attorney Jeff Nieman was called to testify in the trial on Wednesday. Nieman was called to provide his experience with residents who have had their license revoked and the demographic trends of those who have had their license revoked multiple times for minor infractions.
Nieman spoke with WCHL’s Blake Hodge about his role in the trial:http://chapelboro.com/news/state-news/local-assistant-district-attorney-testifies-in-voting-rights-trial
North Carolina’s branch of the NAACP said the state has not been adequately informing voters for the new rules for the 2016 elections.
Reverend William Barber, president of the North Carolina branch of the NAACP, said the organization is deeply concerned about the issue.
“According to the law, you can vote with or without a North Carolina driver’s license or other photo ID,” Barber said.
Voters without a photo ID will have to fill out a reasonable impediment declaration and be able to cast a provisional ballot. These voters must also provide their birth date and the last four digits of their social security number.
“That should be said up front in every ad, in every brochure,” he said. “Instead what we’re seeing is brochures where that information is on the back side five lines down. Or it may be casually mentioned in the radio ad but not mentioned up front.”
Examples of reasonable impediments given by the State Board of Elections include family obligation, disability or transportation problems.
“There is no standard for reasonable impediment as the law is written and as the state board has interpreted it to us,” said attorney Irving Joyner. “The problem is people out in the communities don’t know that. No one is telling them and the only message that is coming from the state board is that you have to have a state-sponsored voter ID.”
Joyner said this lack of information is also a problem because it affects poll workers. He said untrained poll workers may tell people who do not have an ID that they will not be able to vote.
“The director of the State Board of Elections has already acknowledged that people have not been trained,” he said. “We are roughly a month and a half away from the March 15 primary. If you’re not going to train them now, when are you going to do it?”
Although the NAACP is informing citizens about the changes to voting laws, Barber said the ultimate goal is to get rid of the voter ID laws entirely.
“We’re going to continue to fight,” he said. “We’re not going to be satisfied until the ID requirement is fully fixed and no voters are intimidated or kept from casting their ballot. We believe it, courts have already said at its face, photo ID is unconstitutional.”http://chapelboro.com/featured/naacp-state-not-properly-informing-voters-ids
It is election season and candidate forums are helping voters decide who they will cast their ballot for this year.
Eight candidates are running for four open seats on the Chapel Hill – Carrboro City Schools Board of Education; two incumbents are not running for re-election.
A CHCCS debate on Monday night presented by the PTA Council, Chapel Hill – Carrboro NAACP and the Special Needs Advisory Council was aired live on WCHL.
Listen to the debate below:
Municipal races in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough will also be on the ballot this fall.
Early voting begins on October 22. Election Day is November 3.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/chapel-hill-carrboro-city-schools-candidate-forum
The “achievement gap” has been a major issue in our local schools for years, even decades. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district is generally recognized as one of the very best in North Carolina (if not the best), but there’s a persistent disparity between rich and poor, and between whites and minorities, when it comes to test scores, graduation rates, and the other measures of academic performance. That disparity is wider in CHCCS schools than in many other districts. And there’s also a “gap” in discipline as well: students of color are more likely to be punished or suspended for infractions than their white peers, even when both commit the same offense.
Educators, administrators, staff, parents, and everyone else involved in the schools have long been concerned about those persistent “gaps.” But while the district has committed a great deal of resources and effort to tackling the problem, actual progress has been frustratingly minimal.
What are the next steps? How can our schools move toward equity and make real progress in closing the achievement and discipline gaps, while maintaining the excellent quality that the district is known for?
Members of the community are invited to a community forum on this topic Saturday, September 26, from 1-4 pm at Northside Elementary School. Co-sponsored by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, Organizing Against Racism, the CHCCS Multicultural Student Achievement Network, and the CHCCS PTA Council, the forum is called “Achieving Equity and Excellence in Our Schools: Challenges and Opportunities.” Everyone’s invited to offer feedback, hear from others, and be a part of the ongoing effort.
Greg McElveen of the CH-C NAACP (a former school board member) and Wanda Hunter of Organizing Against Racism joined Aaron Keck on WCHL this week to discuss the forum and the larger issue.
Several hundred confederate flag supporters gathered in downtown Hillsborough Saturday for a ‘Southern Heritage Ride and Rally.’
It was pitched as an educational event to learn more about the history of the flag and other Confederate memorials. WCHL’s Jess Clark was there, listen below:
Last Thursday, on the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, NC NAACP leaders held a press conference aimed to “promote the accurate history of ugly racist policies and symbols of hatred.”