“Divine Nine” advocates press state lawmakers for change

Nicole Dozier speaks at today’s press conference, flanked by other Divine Nine representatives, including Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield at left

The North Carolina Divine Nine, a group of nine historically African-American Panhellenic fraternities and sororities, held a press conference today at the General Assembly to announce the group’s advocacy agenda for the 2019-2020 year.

Tejuan Manners, district director of the Association of North Carolina Alphamen, described six areas of emphasis in the group’s policy agenda: criminal justice reform, voting reform, accessible health care, improved public education, economic empowerment and housing justice and assuring a full count in the 2020 Census.

Nicole Dozier, director of the Health Advocacy Project at the North Carolina Justice Center (the parent organization of NC Policy Watch), specifically addressed the importance of closing the Medicaid coverage gap while decrying the decision of state legislative leaders to keep North Carolina in what she called the “mean-spirited minority” that have refused to expand the program.

In exploring some of the details of the six priorities, Manners gave particular emphasis to securing full public access to all police body camera footage and the group’s demand that North Carolina enact a program providing for automatic voter registration for all North Carolinians when they reach their 18th birthday.

Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield (D-Wilson) and Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed (D-Mecklenburg) were present at the press conference and praised the North Carolina Divine Nine for their consistent commitment to political advocacy in the state.

This press conference was part of the fourth annual North Carolina Divine Nine Legislative Day. Organizers estimated attendance at today’s event at over 600.

Aditi Kharod is a student at UNC Chapel Hill and an intern at NC Policy Watch.

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