Scholars, Seniors, Clergy & Students Arrested at NC General Assembly

Email from Vicki Ryder

So far, 47 of us (17 two Mondays ago and 30 this past Monday) have engaged in non-violent civil disobedience in a growing movement against the avalanche of regressive and repressive new laws that have been spewing from our State Legislature since a Republican super majority (and a Republican governor) came into office this January. Specifically, we blocked the doors to the General Assembly meeting room of the Legislative Building, and were charged with three counts each:
~ remaining on premises of NC General Assembly after having been notified not to enter or remain there by a person in charge of the premises;
~ creating a disturbance in the NC State Legislative Bldg. with loud singing and yelling, and displaying unauthorized signs in violation of G.S.120-32.1(B);
~ assembling with at least three or more persons engaged in disorderly conduct and upon the command of Officer Jeff Weaver, chief of police of the NC General Assembly Police Dept., failed to disperse and remained at the scene.
In addition, five college students were arrested on May Day when they attempted to enter the building.
We were released and ordered not to set foot on the grounds of the Legislative Bldg. until the final resolution of our case, which will take no less than two months, since that’s when we’ve been ordered to make our first court appearance. Sentencing will occur sometime after that.
What happens now is that more civil disobedience will occur every Monday while the Legislature is in session, and our ranks are growing by the day.
Our list of grievances continues to grow every day, too, as one bad bill after another gets enacted, sometimes without even an official record of who voted how. One recent vote limiting environmental protections was done by voice only [“all in favor say ‘aye'”] with no counting of actual votes. The chair, who declared that the “ayes” had it, refused all calls for an actual vote count.
Among the bills already passed or pending (and sure to pass) thus far:

~ raises the eligibility requirements for public preschool, making 30,000 poor kids ineligible;

~ terminates unemployment benefits for folks now currently eligible to receive them;

~ imposes sales taxes on necessities like food and non-prescription medications, while giving tax cuts to 23 favored millionaires;

~ mandates voter ID but prohibits the use of private college IDs as an acceptable form of identification. College students now may not vote in their school’s voting district; if they do, their parents will lose their $2,500 tax credit;

 

~ shortens the early voting period and eliminates Sunday voting and same-day registration;

~ makes it illegal for any city or town to pass environmental protection laws that are stricter than the State laws they enact. So, in other words, if the Governor lifts the current ban on fracking, then no town can pass a law barring fracking within their own town;

~ allows concealed weapons on college campuses, state property, greenways, bike trails, at sporting events, and in businesses that serve alcohol;

~ allows local school boards to approve charters and convert their own schools to a charter format, and allows districts to create schools operating under special curricula, budgets and admissions criteria. The so-called satellite schools would be able to “experiment with different pay models,” and districts could petition the State Board to waive the requirement that at least 50 percent of the school’s staff hold instructional certifications;

~ repeals a 2007 law (enacted when the Dems held the majority) that required power companies to obtain at least 10% of their power from renewable sources. The vote was done by voice only [all in favor say “aye”] with no counting of actual votes or record of who voted how. The chair, who declared that the “ayes” had it, refused all calls for a vote count;

~ makes it mandatory for minors to have notarized written permission from parents in order to receive reproductive counseling or abortions.

In addition, Gov. McCrory has refused to accept Medicaid expansion funds (federal funds from taxes paid by North Carolinians), rendering 500,000 more people ineligible to receive affordable health care. Even Florida’s Gov. Scott wasn’t that cruel.

Yes, the lead organization in our movement is the NC NAACP, and the movement is very much in the model of the civil rights demonstrations led by Dr. King. Today’s leader here is the Rev. Dr. William Barber, and he has many large and powerful Black churches working with him. These (and the white churches) are at the center of much community organizing here in North Carolina. But the key here is that they work in collaboration with 156 (!!!) other organizations that work for immigrant justice, labor and workers rights, health care, economic justice and development, environmental justice, community organizing and outreach, youth and education, LGBT rights, women’s rights, democracy and civil/human rights, peace advocacy, and media. [For a full list, just go to http://hkonj.com and click on Coalition Partners. It will blow your socks off!]

Rochester doesn’t need more street shootings, Mike. It just needs to get organized….

Forward together!

Vicki

PS: You’re probably wondering why, if we’re so well organized, we ended up with the wrong super majority in power here. We’re workin’ on it….

 

 

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