STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 08-30-18
DUKE OFFICIALS PROBING RACIAL SLUR WRITTEN ON BLACK CENTER SIGN
[DURHAM] Officials at Duke University are investigating who wrote a “heinous racial epithet” on a sign to the campus Center for Black Culture. The racial slur, which officials reveal was the n-word, was discovered Saturday on a sign on the Flowers Building on the West Campus. Officials say the vandalized sign will be repainted. Duke University President Vincent Price said, “Such a cowardly and hateful act has no place on our campus.”
PLAN FOR FUTURE OF SILENT SAM EXPECTED BY NOVEMBER, SAYS UNC BOARD
[CHAPEL HILL] After a two-hour closed door meeting Tuesday, the UNC Board of Governors mandated that UNC Chancellor Carol Folt and the UNC – Chapel Hill Board of Trustees must have a “lawful and lasting” solution to the future of the controversial Silent Sam Confederate statue that was torn down August 20thby demonstrators, by Nov. 15th. The plan must spell out the “disposition and preservation” of the statue. Folt told reporters afterwards that she is looking at “all options” as to the future of Silent Sam. She indicated, however, that the public safety of students on campus was paramount.
TRUMP COMING TO CHARLOTTE; TRAVEL PROBLEMS EXPECTED
[CHARLOTTE] President Trump is scheduled to appear at Central Piedmont Community College on Friday to sign an executive order on retirement security, and attend a luncheon for two Republican congressmen. However, if you’re traveling from or two the Queen City area, especially near the airport, expect delays on the road and in the air. Anytime the president of the United States travels to an area, air traffic is halted for at least a mile from the airport, and the route he must travel by motorcade is shutdown to all vehicular traffic. With Friday kicking off the heavy traveled Labor Day weekend, the added delays are going to wreak havoc as long as Trump remains in the area.
BARBER URGES SILENT SAM
PROTESTERS TO VOTE IN NOV.
By Cash Michaels
[CHAPEL HILL] Lauding the demonstrators Saturday who five days earlier pulled down the controversial Confederate monument of “Silent Sam” on UNC – Chapel Hill campus, Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of Repairers of the Breach, and co-chairman of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Revival,” insisted that that was not enough.
He urged those same protesters, and indeed the UNC students who support their actions, to also register to vote, and then “…if you’re going to pull a statue down, you better pull a voting lever in November” during the upcoming midterm elections.
“It’s not just about statues, but about the statutes,” Dr. Barber added during a “Speak Out” rally in front of First Baptist Church on W. Rosemary Street.
As he spoke, some of the 200 anti-white supremacy protesters and a few dozen pro-Silent Sam supporters carrying Confederate flags, clashed where the statue once stood off Franklin Street a half mile away. Police arrested seven people on various charges, including assault. Barricades were erected, along with stationed police officers, to protect the base where Silent Sam once stood.
Protesters defended that the 103-year-old statue had to come down because it was really a monument to white supremacy, not to the South’s Civil War dead, as supporters maintain.
A Durham attorney indicted that he has prepared a lawsuit against the state if the UNC Board attempts to put the statue back up, alleging that it’s very presence creates a “hostile” atmosphere, especially for UNC students of color who have to walk by it every day.
Barber then warned that if the UNC Board of Governors did put the Silent Sam statue back up in 90 days, as prescribed by law, that that then becomes a “political question.”
“Because they are appointed by legislators and the governor, so if you want a more progressive board of [UNC] governors, we better have a massive turnout to the polls in November.”
Barber, the former president of the NCNAACP, said that fighting racism as to be about more than “…somebody calling you the n-word. I’m more concerned about the folk who don’t call me the n-word, but then they vote to suppress the vote, or vote to deny or dismantle health care in poor minority communities. These are the kind of issues [we must fight]…policy-based racism!”
“You can’t change policy-based racism by merely changing language. You have to change laws. And you can’t change laws if you’re not engaged in the electoral process!”
Rev. Barber was in Chapel Hill and Stokes County Saturday promoting the Poor People’s Campaign’s “massive” voter registration, canvassing and mobilization of poor and low-wealth communities there, and in 26 states across the nation. Barber said the campaign now has coordinating committees in 41 states and Washington, D.C.
The estimated two million poor people in North Carolina, alone, could make a huge difference in the direction of this state’s government, Barber assured.
He announced that the campaign will be registering and canvassing people to vote from now until the November 6thelections, and every month thereafter, presumably towards the 2020 presidential election.
“This is not about Trump alone,” Dr. Barber insisted. “Now Trump is a problem, but our moral political analysis is extremists who call themselves Republicans, and Democrats who too often act as if they are scared when they have power, created a context to allow a Trump to be elected.”
That “context” was the deliberate splintering of various groups from each other by the very same politicians nationally and in state legislatures who are scurrying to distance themselves from the embattled president now that several federal investigations and court cases are zeroing on past alleged crimes.
“Extremists, under the guise as Republicans, who got in office, and attacked voting laws, and suppressed the vote, and denied health care, or attacked immigrants…and denied living wages,” Dr. Barber continued. “Our movement is saying, ‘No longer will we be divided. We’re going to be together.”
“We can change America!”
FEDERAL COURT RULING ON
NC REDISTRICTING APPLAUDED
By Cash Michaels
Republican NC legislative leaders are petitioning the US Supreme Court to stay an order from a three-judge federal court Monday that ruled the state’s congressional districts unconstitutional, and that new redistricting maps be drawn.
The 2-1 ruling in the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, found that the congressional districts were skewed because of partisan gerrymandering, and cannot be used beyond the 2018 midterm elections.
In fact, the judges offered a choice – either draw new redistricting maps before the November elections, or hold primaries in November based on new maps, and hold elections in January just before the new Congress is sworn-in.
According to the court decision, led by Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge James A. Wynn, Jr., the Republican-led NC General Assembly deliberately used “political data” from past elections when it drew its 2016 redistricting maps “… specifying whether, and to what extent, particular voting precincts had favored Republican or Democratic candidates, and therefore were likely to do so in the future — to draw a districting plan that would ensure Republican candidates would prevail in the vast majority of the State’s congressional districts, and would continue to do so in future elections.”
The result, the court said were thirteen North Carolina congressional districts – ten of which elected Republicans, three Democrats, in a state where Democrat and Republican numbers are virtually even.
Irving Joyner, chair of the NCNAACP Legal Redress Committee, and law professor at North Carolina Central University School of Law, applauded the court ruling.
“This is a great consideration and determination by the Court which demonstrate, once again, how extreme this General Assembly has been in its misguided efforts to illegally retain political power for ultra-right wing zealots in our legislature,” Joyner said in a statement. “The Court recognized the unconstitutionality of what the General Assembly did with this partisan restricting and, once again, the people of North Carolina have had to suffer for this misconduct. At the same time, this General Assembly continues to do everything possible to corrupt and diminish the separation of powers in this State and it requires resort to the Court to resist this uncontrolled quest for power by this group of legislators.
The nonpartisan group, Common Cause of North Carolina, a litigant in the case, also hailed the ruling.
“We are pleased that a North Carolina federal court has once again state what we hve long believed, that partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional,” said Bob Phillips, Common Cause NC executive director.
“This is an historic win for voters, and a significant step towards finally ending gerrymandering.”
On January 9thearlier this year, the federal court initially struck down the 2016 maps drawn by the NC legislature as unconstitutional. Republicans filed an emergency stay after the court ruled then that remedial maps should be drawn, hoping that the uS Supreme Court would take up the matter. But the High Court didn’t. The case was eventually remanded to the District Court.
At press time, NC Republican lawmakers asked the US Supreme Court to stay the federal court order, saying what was being mandated was “simply impossible.”