Barber tells N.C. NAACP to expand fight

Barber tells N.C. NAACP to expand fight
October 15
00:00 2015

By Cash Michaels

For The Chronicle and

Tevin Stinson

The Chronicle

Saying that the 2016 elections are extremely important to North Carolina and the country, N.C. NAACP President Rev. Dr. William Barber laid out an aggressive agenda for organizing and mobilizing voters statewide under the banner “This is no time for foolishness.”

“At this convention…we know what is needed in this state and this nation. We know what’s needed for liberty and justice for all to be realized,” Barber told hundreds of N.C. NAACP chapter members attending the 72nd annual State Convention in Winston-Salem on Saturday, Oct.10 at the Benton Convention Center.

“Number one, we ‘ve got to secure pro-labor anti-poverty policies that ensure

economic sustainability by fighting for full employment, living wages, the alleviation of disparate unemployment, a green economy, labor rights, affordable housing, targeted empowerment zones, [and] strong safety net services for the poor. We have to stop extreme militarism that destroys innocent lives and undermines our ability to wage a real war on poverty at home.”

“We’ve got to make sure we have fair policies for immigrants, infrastructure development, and fair tax reform that benefits the poor and working poor, and not the greedy,” Barber continued.

The NCNAACP leader also called for “educational equality” by ensuring that every child have, “… a high quality, well-funded, constitutional, diverse public education,” in addition to proper funding for historically-black colleges and universities.

Also important “…to pursue liberty,” Barber called for health care for all by ensuring access to the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid expansion, Medicare, and protecting Social Security. Protecting the environment was also key, as well as correcting injustices in the criminal justice system that negatively impact people of color and poor whites.

On citizen rights, Barber maintained the importance of preserving and protecting voting, women’s, LGBT and civil rights.

“And always, I don’t are what Donald Trump says…we must demand that nobody touch the 14th Amendment that guarantees equal protection under the law,” Barber exclaimed to applause.

The progressive agenda Rev. Barber presented is viewed by many in the conservative ranks as “socialist” or “communist,” he said, but that’s because “ a regressive and extremist [NC] Legislature…” has chosen to ignore the needs of the poor, and the common people.

Indeed, especially in the South, “…the poorest districts in the country are the [politically] reddest districts,” Barber noted, adding that conservative politicians who are working to hurt the poor, are also hurting the very people who support them.

“And somehow in the South, they’re so blinded by the Southern Strategy and the old tricks of racism, that many Southern whites don’t realize that they’re in the same boat as black people,” the NCNAACP leader said.

After railing off a full list of other injustices perpetrated against communities of color and poor whites by the Tea Party and conservative Republicans, and saying now that , “…it’s easier to get a gun than to register to vote,” Barber proclaimed,

Reminding convention gatherers that they were not there for fellowship, but rather were in a “war room,” Rev. Barber said in 2016, the focus of all NAACP branches will be to maximize memberships, further mobilize the Moral Monday movement across the state in various counties, especially in home districts of conservative state legislators who oppose the progressive agenda; and move and march massive votes to the polls.

“We’re going to put together the most massive get-out-to-vote effort ever seen since the ‘60’s,” Rev. Barber promised, adding that the NCNAACP and Forward Together Movement will continue to build coalitions for progress. “This foolishness has gone on too long.”

“It’s our time now!”

Dewayne Stevenson, who drove two hours from Moore County to the convention, said he was moved by Barber’s powerful words.

“I’ve been a member for over 10 years and that was one of the best speeches I’ve heard at the convention it was very powerful and uplifting.”

John Stean, a member and recent intern of the state NAACP branch. said Barber’s message was a perfect blend of past, present, and future.

“He does a good job of blending the history of this movement and transitioning that into what it means, practically for us to things now that will make a difference,” Stean said.

Before leaving the stage, Barber said for the movement to be successful, everyone must remain focused and not pay attention to the foolishness.

“There is no time for foolishness when they are suppressing our votes and denying us healthcare,” Barber said.

“This is no time for foolishness when Jonathan Ferrell, a college student, is gunned down by a police officer in Charlotte,” Barber said.

“Instead of foolishness, we need to remain focused on pursing justice,” said Barber. “When people are taking things from you and when some people don’t have the consciousness to know it, someone has got to sound the alarm and let it be known that this is no time for foolishness.”













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