Local NAACP backs N.C. boycott

Rev. Alvin Carlisle is sworn in as the president of the local NAACP branch on Tuesday.

Local NAACP backs N.C. boycott
March 02
08:00 2017



Controversy abounds in the aftermath of a dramatic announcement last week that the national and state NAACP are calling for an “international” economic boycott of North Carolina because, they say, of “repressive” policies marshaled by the Republican-led state legislature.

“True democracy remains a distant ideal that the racist actions of members of the N.C. state legislature continue to disgracefully push further and further out of the reach of the African-American community,” said NAACP President Cornell William Brooks.

“The NAACP refuses to accept this attack on democracy or the commoditization of bias against people due to racial or gender identity here in North Carolina or anywhere else around the nation. This we will fight against with all of our resources until we win.”

But despite important questions about how the boycott would work, at least one local NAACP leader says leveraging dollars spent in the state is the most effective way to force meaningful change.

“Sometimes the only route to meaningful change is economic boycott,” Rev. Alvin Carlisle, president of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County NAACP, told The Chronicle this week. “King stated that ‘Riot is the language of the unheard. In America, the dollar is a language everyone understands.’”

It was last December that N.C. NAACP President Rev. Dr. William Barber II announced that the state conference would formally ask the national NAACP Board of Directors for permission to call for an economic boycott, in response to various policies and actions emanating from the GOP-led N.C. General Assembly.

Three weeks ago, right before the 11th Annual  HK on J March and People’s Assembly, the national NAACP Board “announced a resolution calling for an international economic boycott of the state of North Carolina in response to actions of an all-white legislative caucus, which unconstitutionally designed racially-discriminatory gerrymandered districts, enacted a monster voter suppression law,  passed Senate Bill 4 stripping the incoming Governor of power and passed House Bill 2.”

The NAACP Board described “HB 2” as a “…anti-transgender, anti-worker and anti-access to the state court for employment discrimination.”

Last Friday during a press conference in front of the N.C. Legislative Building on Jones Street, with national NAACP President/CEO  Brooks looking on, state NAACP President Barber stood firm on why an economic boycott was necessary.

“The actions of the all-white caucus of extremists in our legislature and the former governor are out of control. They have consistently passed legislation that is a violation of our deepest moral values, voting rights, civil rights and the fundamental principle of equal protection under the law.”

Rev. Barber continued, “The federal court ruled against their voter suppression and racially gerrymandered districts. We believe their attacks on the transgender community and attempt to strip the governor of power will also be found unconstitutional. Their decision to block local municipalities ability to raise wages and their limitation of access to state courts are wrong  and we must stand strong against any and all attempts to deprive citizens their rights ordained by God and guaranteed by the constitution.” Barber and Brooks called on all sporting and entertainment events, conferences and other business interests to avoid North Carolina until Republican lawmakers reversed course. No national NAACP meetings will take place in the state as well, and the civil rights organization might even consider divestiture of investments in the state.

The national NAACP famously boycotted South Carolina for 15 years until it removed the Confederate Flag from the state Capitol grounds.

Republican Senate President Pro tem Phil Berger [R-Rockingham] immediately blamed Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper for the NAACP declaration, saying the governor should “condemn William Barber’s attempt to inflict economic harm on our citizens, and work toward a reasonable com-promise that keeps men out of women’s bathrooms.,” referring to HB 2, which has already cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in cancelled events and businesses refusing to move to North Carolina.

Ford Porter, Gov. Cooper’s spokesperson, fired back. “While Governor Cooper continues to urge business to come to North Carolina in spite of HB 2, Republican legislative leaders need to stop holding our economy hostage to this disastrous law.”

While state leaders quibble about the boycott, local NAACP leader Carlisle says leveraging the dollar is the most effective way to fight unjust laws.

“Even when the voice of the ballot is not respected,” Rev. Carlisle told The Chronicle, “…the voice of the dollar is too loud to be ignored.”

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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