The North Carolina Justice Center adds its voice to the chorus condemning the white supremacy and racism on display this weekend in Charlottesville, as well as the continued everyday violence of institutional racism and outright bigotry in our society. The events of this past weekend made it clear – once again – that such ideas are all too prevalent in our country.
Our nation is experiencing a rising tide of racism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia. The President’s tacit encouragement of outspoken white supremacists has only made them more empowered and dangerous. His initial statement on Saturday conflating the victim and perpetrator was exceptionally destructive.
Here in North Carolina, we have seen clear and explicit policies that would further systemic racism and oppression, such as racial gerrymandering, voter suppression, and the re-segregation of our schools – all policies that seek to divide rather than unite us. It is not only our moral responsibility to stand against the bigotry, hatred, and evil on display over the weekend, but also to fight against institutions and policies that give rise to the credibility of that ideology.
To remain silent in the face of hate – in any form, violent or otherwise – is to tolerate these destructive views.
We must also acknowledge a painful but very real truth. Not all individuals who hold these beliefs march in rallies or wear white hoods, nor will they ever acknowledge their own biases. We must stand against the institutional racism and outright bigotry in our society, and not just when they result in terrible violence, for the touchstone of violence is words. It requires an everyday commitment if we are to truly challenge racism and white supremacy. It is too easy to label the perpetrators as the “other,” when, in reality, “they” may well be the person next door.
Today is not a day to be silent, or to tolerate evil. The NC Justice Center strongly rejects hate and condemns white supremacy, and we reaffirm our commitment to advancing racial justice.
From Angeline Echeverria, Executive Director of El Pueblo Inc:
El Pueblo stands with the victims of the white supremacist terrorist attack which occurred this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. As an organization dedicated to the dismantling of systemic racism and xenophobia, we were appalled by both the Nazi rally and the violence used against counter protesters who stood up against fascism and injustice in our society. We urge our friends and allies to remain vigilant of both overt and subtle forms of white supremacy in our communities, and to look after one another in these uncertain times.
Members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation took to social media Saturday to speak out against the violence that erupted at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Senator Thom Tillis:
The hate, bigotry and violence on display in #Charlottesville is despicable and represents the complete opposite of what America stands for.
— Senator Thom Tillis (@SenThomTillis) August 12, 2017
Congressman David Price (NC-4):
— David E. Price (@RepDavidEPrice) August 12, 2017
— David E. Price (@RepDavidEPrice) August 12, 2017
Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (NC-5):
The violence and bigotry displayed in Charlottesville remain an affront to our shared American values. I strongly condemn these acts of hate
— Virginia Foxx (@virginiafoxx) August 12, 2017
Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-8):
The violence and hate in Charlottesville are unacceptable and un-American. We must stand united in condemning this vile bigotry. https://t.co/cXcqF6smPa
— Richard Hudson (@RepRichHudson) August 12, 2017
Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10):
Horrified by the violence in #Charlottesville. My prayers are with the victims. I join with all Americans in condemning (1/2)
— Patrick McHenry (@PatrickMcHenry) August 12, 2017
the hate, bigotry, and racism that spurred today's events. (2/2) #Charlottesville
— Patrick McHenry (@PatrickMcHenry) August 12, 2017
Congresswoman Alma S. Adams (NC-12):
The SePro Corporation is receiving as much as $1.3 million in taxpayer money to chemically kill the algae in Jordan Lake, but the company is keeping key details of its proposal — including a full ingredient list of the products and the amounts to be released — secret from the public.
The proposed chemical treatment of a drinking water source for 300,000 people is yet another questionable technique backed by some lawmakers and business interests, who have been reluctant to instead enforce rules limiting development in the Jordan Lake watershed.
SePro’s proposals were marked “confidential,” but Policy Watch obtained them under the state’s public records law. However, more than half of the eight-page document had been redacted by SePro, under a state statute allowing companies to refuse to divulge material they deem as proprietary or a trade secret. [Read more…]
The General Assembly will convene a special session next week but most people in North Carolina, including the vast majority of the members of House and Senate, have no idea what legislation they will consider while they are in town.
Last week lawmakers met in a one-day special session supposedly to consider overriding a series of vetoes by Governor Roy Cooper. That was the stated purpose anyway.
But a number of lawmakers didn’t make the session so votes on the vetoes were delayed and instead the House and Senate considered a series of bills, including one that would make it far more difficult to enact new environmental or workplace safety regulations no matter how desperately they are needed. [Read more…]
3. Republicans and Democrats disagree on a lot at redistricting criteria meeting
Less than a month after publicly stating that he “sincerely” hoped Democrats would engage in the redistricting process, Rep. David Lewis kiboshed all of the minority party’s suggestions for map-making criteria Thursday.
Democratic Senators and Representatives offered several amendments throughout Thursday’s meeting to adopt criteria submitted by Republican committee chairs. None of their amendments were adopted, despite many reflecting the public comments from last week.
House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson said after the meeting that he didn’t feel like his party has been part of the process at all, not only in voting but also in the presentation of the criteria.
“The Democratic criteria were submitted in advance of today’s date, so that they were prepared, whereas we were handed theirs this morning,” he said, adding that they did get to caucus but didn’t have time to prepare beyond that. “I think if you want people to be included, you don’t wait til the last minute.” [Read more…]
4. The fight for democracy gains momentum
Despite lawmakers’ latest big stall, redistricting reformers are on the offensive
“The dog ate my homework.” If you thought this old cliché of an excuse lost all currency in the world after about the fourth grade and/or when students start turning in their assignments online, think again. Unfortunately, the phrase also pretty much sums up the position of North Carolina Republican legislative leaders as they do everything they can think of to delay the process of redrawing the legislative district maps that a three-judge federal panel struck down as unconstitutional because of their “surgical precision” in discriminating against African-American voters.
That’s because the legislators’ excuse for their ongoing failure to draw lawful maps in the face of repeated findings that they have failed to do so and directives to get to work boils down to what one major North Carolina newspaper labeled yesterday as “pitiful stall tactics.” As Chris Fitzsimon observed in last week’s “Monday Numbers” column, the magnitude of the stall is pretty startling: [Read more…]
5. Hotly contested local races set to take the political stage in NC
Across the state, this year’s historically crowded municipal elections have drawn new types of candidates.
Young candidates. First time candidates. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender candidates.
And, importantly, many more non-white candidates.
In each of North Carolina’s three largest cities – Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh – white female mayors are facing minority challengers.
That does not mean the races are all of one stripe.
In Charlotte, where the mayoral race is on track to be the most expensive in history, Mayor Jennifer Roberts faces two very different black challengers – both Democrats, like Roberts. [Read more…]
Two and half years ago, the UNC Board of Governors voted to fire widely respected UNC President Tom Ross.
The move by the handpicked board of the Republican legislative majorities came with no public notice and there was no reason given for forcing Ross to resign.
The board chair said after the meeting that Ross had been doing a wonderful job. But everybody in Raleigh knew the reason.
Ross’ firing was the beginning of the Republican assault on the university system with most of the focus on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, long derided by forces on the Right as a key center of progressive thought in the state. [Read more…]
2. Parent of special needs child battles troubled Charlotte charter school
Case raises questions of whether charters are complying with state and federal law
Skye, a 10-year-old from Charlotte, was vomiting stomach bile when her mother decided something must change.
LauraLee McIntosh saw the health of her daughter, diagnosed with a rare chromosome condition and mitochondrial disease, declining steadily along with her weight. McIntosh blames the Charlotte charter school that refused to loosen its strict lunch policies to allow a modified lunch for Skye, despite doctor’s orders.
Skye, whose symptoms include neurological problems, could not adapt to the school’s rigid healthy and organic lunch requirements. Skye’s response to various textures and tastes made meal time difficult, so she all but stopped eating at Veritas, while school leadership refused to make adjustments. [Read more…]
The temperature in Rocky Mount was tipping 100 degrees and the hallway of Nash Community College was hot, as it held hundreds of people lined up to speak on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Nothing sounded better than a cold glass of water.
But these days, with contaminants known and unknown flowing from their taps, North Carolinians can no longer take clean water for granted.
Worries about their drinking water, as well as property values and environmental damage, compelled hundreds of people to attend the NC Department of Environmental Quality’s two recent public hearings on water quality and buffer requirements for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. [Read more…]
Republican legislative leaders are staying mum about a federal court ruling that requires them to submit new maps by September 1.
The date is almost three months in advance of the deadline they asked for, though the three-judge panel did deny a request for a special election – a win for GOP lawmakers who argued against such a request after delaying drawing new maps until the 11th hour.
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore and Redistricting Committee chairmen Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) and Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) have not responded to an email request seeking comment about the court’s timeline. They also have not released any public statements.
Democrats and advocates, on the other hand, have both commended and criticized the court’s ruling.[Read more…]
5. What the fight over fair elections is really all about
As NC looks at election rules and redistricting, a powerful new book reminds us why these issues are even on the table
This is an especially busy week in the fight for fair elections in North Carolina. Late yesterday, a panel of three federal judges issued an order in the case of North Carolina v. Covington – a challenge to North Carolina’s unconstitutionally gerrymandered legislative districts. The ruling came just hours after the North Carolina State Board of Elections conducted a hearing on a set of new proposed rules that could rein in some of the worst voter suppression tactics employed by conservatives during the 2016 election.
With any luck, we could be on the verge of some important breakthroughs in the effort to enfranchise voters and reclaim our democracy. [Read more…]