The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, spoke out ferociously against the Republican-led North Carolina legislature’s special session this week. In an official statement shared by NC Policy Watch’s Progressive Pulse Blog, Barber called the legislature’s agenda items racist, classist and regressivist.
The General Assembly is required by law to follow the North Carolina Constitution which states in Article 1, Section 2 “all political power is vested in and derived from the people…and is instituted solely for the good of the whole.” They should be upholding Article 1, Section 19 of the North Carolina Constitution, which ensures “no person shall be denied equal protection of the laws; nor shall any person be subjected to discrimination by the State because of race, color, religion, or national origin.” The Constitution calls us to a higher place where a “divide and conquer” strategy has no place.
Despite the noble call of our Constitution there is a strange spirit in the halls of the North Carolina General Assembly. The NC General Assembly reconvened last night with two major agenda items: to repeal the Racial Justice Act and pass a Voter Photo ID law that, if accomplished, would have a disparate impact on African Americans, the elderly and other minorities.
These efforts point to an extremist agenda that can be called nothing less than Legislative Racism, Classism and Regression rather than an agenda of Legislative Progress and Prosperity for all North Carolinians.
What’s Barber most upset about? Among the many topics: Repeal of the Racial Justice Act, a voter ID bill, redistricting, primary and secondary education budget cuts, the anti-LGBT constitutional amendment, pre-K education cuts, withholding of federal unemployment benefits and higher education budget cuts.
All this from a legislature that said its top priority was jobs? The proof is in the pudding.
Read Barber’s full statement at pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2011/11/29/racism-and-classism/.