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UNC students plan walk-out to protest racism, police policies on campus

Students at UNC-Chapel Hill are organizing a walk-out protest and “day of action” next week, targeting racism and police violence on campus.

The walk-out, planned for April 24, comes after months of student frustration. They say white supermacist and neo-Confederate demonstrators on campus being treated with deference while the school and its police force aggressively pursue students and faculty protesting everything from the Silent Sam Confederate monument to restrictive university speech policies.

From the student-led call to action:

By offering police protection and free parking to racists while beating and arresting anti-racist students, UNC has made itself complicit in white supremacy. In September, we rallied against racism and police brutality. The administration locked the doors to South Building and refused to hear our demands. Since that time, UNC Police have: 1) protected a violent racist who called for“lone wolf” attacks against UNC, 2) lied under oath to get an anti-racist undergraduate sentenced to jail time, 3) fabricated charges against an anti-racist graduate student, and 4) allowed armed white supremacists to wander campus for a full hour before shaking their hands and letting them leave without consequence. The editorial boards of both the Daily Tar Heel and the Carolina Political Review have condemned UNC’s complicity with white supremacy.

We do not tolerate white supremacy when it marches on our campus, and we must not accept it within UNC’s bureaucracy. At 1:30pm on Wednesday April 24, students will walk out of class and meet on the steps of Wilson Library to demand an end to this shameful collaboration.

The student movement has published a list of demands,  most having to do with the disparate treatment of student protesters and white supremacist protesters on campus and police tactics on campus.

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U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear NJ “conversion therapy” case

Opponents of so-called “conversation therapy” are celebrating this week as the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to New Jersey’s ban on the practice.

In 2013 New Jersey  became the second state to ban the practice, which seeks to “cure” people of being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, from use on minors. Sixteen states — plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico — now ban the practice for those under 18.

“In rejecting this case today, the Supreme Court recognized what every sensible and compassionate person across New Jersey and this country knows: anti-LGBTQ conversion therapy is dangerous, discredited malpractice. It is nothing short of child abuse, and there is no legal argument to defend this horrible practice,” said  Christian Fuscarino, executive director of LGBTQ advocacy group Garden State Equality, in a statement Tuesday.

“It’s alarming that this bigotry-driven and legally-hollow case even got to the Justices for consideration,” Fuscarino said. “And this is a stark reminder that the rights of LGBTQ people— even here in New Jersey —are constantly under attack.”

Though recent polling shows overwhelming bi-partisan support for such a ban in North Carolina, a recently filed bill  isn’t getting much traction with the GOP majority in the North Carolina General Assembly.

Bans on the therapy seem to have momentum in the country right now. Discussion of its harmful effects — once relatively taboo — has gone mainstream.

On Wednesday night LGBTQ advocacy group Equality NC is putting on a conversation with Garrard Conley, author of the best-selling “Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith and Family” and Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy for the Trevor Project.

Conley’s 2016 memoir of surviving conversion therapy was adapted for the big screen last year. The film, directed by Joel Edgerton, stars Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe. It was nominated for two Golden Globe awards.

 

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This Week: Talking “conversion therapy” with the author of “Boy Erased”

If you’ve been following Policy Watch’s continuing coverage of the push to outlaw so-called “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ youth in North Carolina, you may want to mark your calendars for an event in Durham this week.

LGBTQ advocacy group Equality NC is putting on a conversation with Garrard Conley, author of the best-selling “Boy Erased: A Memoir” and Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy for the Trevor Project.

Conley’s 2016 memoir of surviving conversion therapy was adapted for the big screen last year. The film, directed by Joel Edgerton, stars Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe. It was nominated for two Golden Globe awards.

Conversion therapy has been outlawed in 16 states and Washington, D.C. A recent poll shows overwhelming bipartisan support for outlawing it in North Carolina.

News

New poll illuminates fears of North Carolinians from shootings to unemployment

Worth your time today: an interesting new poll from Elon University, conducted in partnership with The Raleigh News & Observer and The Durham Herald-Sun.

The poll asked 1,489 North Carolina adults about 37 various risks from climate change and crime to unemployment and drug addiction, gauging how unsafe each made them feel.

Topping the risks that made respondents feel “very unsafe” were shootings in public places.  Younger respondents were significantly more likely to feel “very unsafe” when asked about shootings in public places, reflecting concern over mass shootings at schools and a generational gap in preference for stronger gun laws.

Half of respondents under 30 said they feel “very unsafe” when it comes to public shootings. That’s 13 percentage points higher than the average and 21 percentage points higher than residents 65 years old or older.

Women and black respondents were also more likely to say public shootings made them feel unsafe when compared to white men.

Forty-five percent of women said public shootings made them feel “very unsafe” compared to 29 percent of men.

Fifty-two percent of black respondents said they feel “very unsafe” compared to 31 percent of white respondents.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, income level was also a major factor in how people responded. Respondents from households making less than $50,000 a year  were more likely to feel unsafe than those from households over $50,000.

Among the risks making lower income respondents feel most unsafe: unemployment, drug addiction and contaminated food and water.

Those concerns were significantly less prevalent in higher income households.

Twenty percent of respondents from households making less than $50,000 reported feeling “very unsafe” about unemployment.  Only 12 percent of respondents from households making more than $50,000 said it made them feel very unsafe.

A full 41 percent of respondents said they felt either “very unsafe” or “somewhat unsafe” about the cost of living.

Check out the full poll and information about methodology here.

 

 

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Mapping “conversion therapy” laws in the U.S.

This week Massachusetts became the 16th U.S. state to pass a ban on so-called “conversion therapy,” which aims to “cure” lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people.

Despite polling showing overwhelming bipartisan support for such a law in North Carolina, the recently filed  Mental Health Protection Act faces strong opposition from religious conservative and the GOP majority in the N.C. General Assembly.

The Movement Advancement Project  uses publicly available Census data, comprehensive studies, the latest surveys and original reporting to map policies impacting LGBTQ people all over the country.

 

Image: Movement Advancement Project

The project’s issue map featuring conversion laws now shows an estimated 58 percent of the LGBTQ population in the U.S. now live in states with no ban on conversion therapy for those under 18. Forty-two percent now live in states with no such bans.

That includes LGBTQ North Carolinians, who make up an estimated 4 percent of the total LGBTQ population in the U.S. — about 323,000 LGBTQ adults.