True to their word, LGBTQ community members and activists gathered for a rally Wednesday morning after the election to demand the repeal of discriminatory legislation, particularly House Bill 2, House Bill 972 and House Bill 318.
HB2 targets workers and LGBTQ community members, particularly transgender North Carolinians; HB972 prevents public access to police body camera footage and HB318 bans municipalities from becoming “sanctuary cities” to offer refuge to immigrant community members.
About 25 people showed up to the Governor’s mansion on Blount Street and were led by members of Southerners on New Ground, a grassroots LGBTQ organization. They boasted a sign titled, “The People’s Agenda,” squared off with a costumed actor representing Gov. Pat McCrory and demanded immediate repeal for the above legislation.
“We are here because it is time for Pat to go,” said Southerners on New Ground field organizer Serena Sebring. “And because our commitment remains to building political platforms that are pro-black, pro-worker, pro-Muslim, pro-women, pro-LGBTQ and pro-immigrant. We have seen so many attacks on our communities in the past few years, and we are here to say enough is enough.”
“Pack your bags Pat,” the man in a McCrory costume, showed up a short time later and was confronted by several people, including a teacher, a Muslim woman and an LGBTQ community member, about why he should concede the election. The race won’t be called until Nov. 18, but Roy Cooper led McCrory 48.97 percent to 48.86 percent.
“I teach and I work for teachers and today’s a really, really hard day for us, because folks are waking up and they’re thinking about how to walk into their classrooms and help their kids deal with the message that bullying is OK, that Muslims don’t belong, that immigrants don’t belong, that LGBTQ people don’t have a place, that black lives don’t matter, that rich people should get all the money,” said Bryan Proffitt, a Durham teacher and chair of Organize 20/20.
He said teachers have been suffering too long under McCrory’s administration, and it was time for him to leave office.
Manal Sidawi, a Muslim American woman who lives in Raleigh, said at the rally that she was disappointed in McCrory’s Islamaphobia, and that he didn’t do anything to help the Muslim community during his term.
“We have to come together,” she said. “We have to build bridges, not walls. We have to respect each other.”
China Medel, a member of the Latinx caucus of Southerners on New Ground, said it was important to her to attend the rally Wednesday for people to know that the fight doesn’t stop after Election Day.
“At this moment, it is more critical than ever that we speak with the loudest voices possible,” she said.