Voting rights teach-in a part of Monday events

Voting rights teach-in a part of Monday events
July 16
00:00 2015

In above photo: (left) UNCG Student and Ignite N.C. member Femi Shittu, (right) East Ward City Council Member Derwin Montgomery 

By Nikki Baldwin For the Chronicle

On Monday, July 13, the Voting Rights Teach-In that is linked to the Moral Monday support of the plaintiffs in N.C. NAACP v. McCrory consisted of sessions on various topics, detailed information on the law, as well as powerful stories from the speakers’ own experiences on inequality and justice.

The trial in the voting rights case is expected to last several weeks.

The teach-in started at 10 a.m. at the Goler Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in downtown Winston-Salem with a packed crowd.

The teach-in begun with the singing of the “Forward Together, Not One Step Back” song in which the members from the crowd joined in singing along.

From there, the song “Hold On, Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” was the next song that the crowd joined along in singing.

The moderator for the teach-in session “Voting Rights: a Moral Imperative” was Daphne Holmes-Johnson.

Holmes-Johnson is an executive member of the N.C. NAACP and a N.C. civil rights activist in her own right. Holmes-Johnson helped issue in the other speakers that were apart of the session, while still expressing her own thoughts about injustice and standing up for one’s own rights.

Holmes-Johnson, when talking to the crowd, said we all need inspiration and prayer.

Holmes-Johnson also discussed growing up around activists such as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and her father, who marched and fought for the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and the struggle that is still ongoing today for voters’ rights and the impact that it has on African-Americans.

Holmes-Johnson urged the crowd to be strategic as part of the movement and to continue the struggle to the fight.

The session proceeded with words from the opening speaker, Attorney Theodore Shaw, who is also director of the UNC Center for Civil Rights.

Shaw discussed Vernon Dahmer, who was killed in 1966 fighting to register voters. He discussed Dahmer’s saying that he quoted during his lifetime, “If you don’t vote, you don’t count,” which was why he lead the struggle that he led.

Shaw then discussed the importance of voting, for he explained how the Right to Vote is sacred, and that one has to fight or one can’t win.

Shaw then followed it up by saying, “Life has meaning only in struggle; let us celebrate in the struggle.”

The Teach-In also contained a video viewing of “This is Our Selma,” which was followed by panelist speakers Tyler Swanson, political action chair of the N.C. NAACP Youth and College; Vashti Hinton, N.C. A&T student and arrestee; Isela Guitierez, Democracy N.C.

Swanson discussed his overall concern about having the right to vote, which is slowly being taken away. Swanson also urged everyone to be involved in every election.

Hinton discussed the effect H.B. (House Bill) 589 has on the college students, such as not having the right to vote.

She also expressed the importance of being able to vote. Guitierez discussed H.B. 589, also known as the Monster Bill, and the tour that is used to help educate the people about the ramifications within the law that is taking away people’s right to vote.

Guitierez also discussed the dangers that are contained within the law. Sessions on the agenda also included: “Racial Violence and Criminal (In) Justice: From Selma to Charleston”; “The Fight for Economic Justice and Living Wages”; and “Building Coalitions to Sustain a Social Justice Movement.”

City Council Member Derwin Montgomery was at the teach-in.

He discussed his hope in the court responding to the N.C. NAACP position and expressed his concern with the law.

Montgomery expressed doubt that he would currently have his position if the law were in place when he was elected, for he is a product of early/same day registration.

Montgomery believes that voting rights should be made as easy as possible for the people.

Montgomery said he is trying to help in his own way by educating the people about what is exactly going on, and how it affects more than a few individuals.

University of North Carolina at Greensboro student and Ignite N.C. member Femi Shittu hopes the N.C. NAACP wins, for she expressed the struggle she has seen firsthand when trying to vote.

“Last time I voted, half of the students was not able to get to vote,” Shittu said.

Shittu ultimately expressed her concern about the voting laws affecting the overall livelihood of people, for she feels it affects living choice and trying to get established.

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors