N.C. NAACP threatens mass sit-in at state legislature

N.C. NAACP threatens mass sit-in at state legislature
March 23
06:40 2017



In a continuing effort to force the Republican-led N.C. General Assembly to back-off, if not repeal various “extremist” laws and measures, the N.C. NAACP on Tuesday rallied supporters from across the state at the Legislative Building in Raleigh, lobbying lawmakers to work with them, or else.

The “or else,” according to the Rev. Dr. William Barber II, president of the N.C. NAACP, could be thousands of chapter members and supporters returning to Jones Street in a few weeks, and conducting a mass sit-in at each legislator’s office.

“They’re really trying a political coup,” Rev. Barber told his gathering on the Halifax Mall behind Legislative Building, noting how laws are being considered to remove traditional powers from Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper; allow concealed guns on college campuses; and make it illegal to be a whistleblower if employees see injustice or fraud.

“We may have to go in there again, and some of us are thinking about having a mass sit-in, where we sit in every room, every hallway… all the sidewalks …and if they want to arrest us, they’ll have to arrest 5,000 people.”

That’s considered non-violent “direct action,” organizers say. But there are important steps, like educating lawmakers on the issues, and negotiating with them. Barber also stressed that before any direct action, there must be “self-purification” so that demonstrators are acting with righteous purpose, not their egos.

Several weeks ago the N.C. NAACP, joined by national NAACP President Cornell William Brooks, called for a national boycott of North Carolina if GOP lawmakers continued draw racially gerrymandered voting districts, and did not repeal HB 2, the notorious “bathroom law,” which not only targets members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) community, but also restricts municipalities’ ability to raise their minimum wage ordinances.

The state NAACP also announced the filing of a bill that would call for special legislative elections to be held now because the current legislature is “unconstitutional.” The civil rights groups adds that because the Fourth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled last year that because the 2011 legislative map was unconstitutional due to racially gerrymandered districts, then the legislature elected based on that map was unconstitutional.

A federal court ruled that lawmakers were to redraw the map by March 15, and have special elections planned beginning in September. However, that ruling was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has not ruled either for or against as of yet.

There are also bills that the N.C. NAACP supports passage of, including HB 303 – the Voter Freedom Act, which would protect North Carolina voters from being improperly challenged during the 25 days prior to an election; HB 233 –the “Ban the Box” law, which will help formerly incarcerated individuals qualify for employment without initially divulging their previous criminal history; and also HB 13, which provides greater flexibility in class sizes and would prevent mass teacher layoffs in programs such as art, music, physical education and languages.

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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