Statement by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II (President, North Carolina NAACP)
Rev. Dr. William Barber II (right), NC state president of NAACP, speaks at a Moral Mondays rally in 2013.
In light of all the gross wrongs by the extremist Republican controlled legislature over the past two weeks, that follow a pattern over the last 3 years during which they have passed unconstitutional laws that were overturned in the courts 13 times, we say enough is enough! Their actions are in violation of and are antithesis to the values of our Constitution, our civil rights commitments, and the deep moral values of justice we share as a state and nation.
The extremist Republican leadership in the NC General Assembly has engaged in a modern day political and policy coup d’état, by passing regressive laws such as SB4 and HB17. The legislative overreach into our access to the court system takes away the political power of the people by undermining our vote. It violates the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branch. These actions were taken after an African American won the Supreme Court race by nearly 350,000 votes thereby changing the ideological makeup of the courts by having two African Americans.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, NC NAACP President said, “In fact, according to the Electoral Integrity Project at Harvard University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Aarhus in Denmark, legislative power in our state no longer depends on the ballot; instead, one party has won roughly half of the votes but gotten one hundred percent of the power. A recent article by one authors is entitled, “North Carolina Is No Longer A Democracy.” These outrages also resonate with the legislative extremists’ voter suppression law that “targeted African Americans with almost surgical precision,” according to a ruling by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 4th District. They remind many North Carolinians of how the all-white Republican caucus has abused power with their secret efforts and refusal to hold public hearings. We have always stood against extremism whether perpetrated historically by Democrats or Republicans. Our lawyers are pursuing every legal option for challenging these unconstitutional laws.”
Therefore, after the Christmas holiday, the NC NAACP Executive Committee will convene and engage in some serious deliberations and develop a formal request to the National Board of Directors of the NAACP calling for an economic boycott of North Carolina until the NC General Assembly:
- 1. Restores the People’s full and immediate access to the Supreme Court that does not allow the legislature to choose which courts hear actions against their decisions based on their partisan bias.
• 2. Repeals the hijacking of the State Board of Elections that seeks to guarantee Republican control even after they lost the Governor’s seat.
• 3. Pass fair redistricting laws that give the people of this state a fair chance to elect legislators of their own choice.
• 4. HB2 and all of its provisions, including the provisions against raising the minimum wage, limiting the time frame to take employment discrimination cases before the state’s courts, and the provision that undermines the ability of local municipalities to write progressive anti-discrimination laws, have been repealed in total.
Not only are these policies unjust, but also the prior actions of this legislature have hurt the poor and working people of our state. They repealed the Earned Income Tax Credit, increasing taxes for 900,000 working poor people, and have denied 500,000 working poor people Medicaid expansion. This decision has cost NC 25,000 new jobs and $2 billion in federal funding each year.
We are calling for a Mass Moral March of Raleigh & HKonJ People’s Assembly on February 11, 2017. We must stop this kind of political overreach here in North Carolina or it will spread to other states. We cannot stand for it now and we will not stand for it tomorrow because our fore parents did not stand for it yesterday!