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N.C. Moral Freedom Summer Comes to Watauga, Voter Registration Organizer Here Through Sept. 1

From Left: Watauga Branch 1st Vice President Mary Lyons and President Cathy Hopkins, MFS Organizer Jessica Injejikian, and Canvassing Volunteer Connor Boyle.
From Left: Watauga Branch 1st Vice President Mary Lyons and President Cathy Hopkins, MFS Organizer Jessica Injejikian, and Canvassing Volunteer Connor Boyle.

Aug. 1, 2014. Moral Freedom Summer, an initiative of the North Carolina NAACP Conference and Forward Together Moral Movement, builds on the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer that used voter registration to combat racism. Fifty years later, almost fifty organizers have been placed across North Carolina to employ voter registration as a tool of fusion politics. Watauga County, through its newly formed NAACP Chapter, was selected to be the recipient of one of those organizers.

“We are emboldened by the fact that with no more than 50 organizer positions available for 100 North Carolina counties Watauga County was chosen as a host site,” states Watauga Branch NAACP President Cath Hopkins. “With our Branch being chartered just months ago, I think this appointment speaks to the energy and passion that the Watauga NAACP Branch – and the wider Watauga community – has demonstrated about voter rights, voter access and voter education.”

The Watauga Moral Freedom Summer Organizer is Jessica Injejikian. Native to North Carolina, Injejikian graduated from UNC Charlotte in 2012 with degrees in History and Applied Anthropology. Although she moved to Charlotte five years ago for college, she is from the small rural town of Grover, NC. With mounting student loan debt, Jessica left her pursuit of a Masters in Public History in 2013. She realized that her passion was being “in the streets” and is focused on bringing pieces of the generally inaccessible ivory tower with her.

Voter registration is a non-partisan issue and fusion politics focuses on working together, absent partisanship and party affiliation, to reach interconnected goals of equal access and equality of all the electorate. North Carolinians now face unprecedented problems, particularly in regard to voter rights, exacerbated by recent changes to state laws that protect those already privileged while further harming those already marginalized. Moral Freedom Summer and the Forward Together Moral Movement pull people of diverse identities together to advocate for justice and equality of voter rights for all with a focus on registering and educating as many North Carolina voters as possible before the November elections.

“When we come together, our voices become more easily heard,” states Injejikian. “It is imperative that we exercise our right to vote, to honor those before us who sacrificed their lives and welfare to secure the vote for all our citizens.”

Watauga’s Moral Freedom Summer will be holding weekly nonpartisan canvassing and tabling events for voter registration throughout the county. Individuals or nonpartisan groups wishing to participate in canvassing can meet at the Watauga County Public Library on Queen Street each Monday at 5:30 PM.

If you are interested in hosting a tabling event or would like to learn about the Forward Together Movement and the Moral Freedom Summer project you are encouraged to drop by the EarthFare café area on Tuesdays between 4 PM and 7 PM to talk to Jessica.  For more info on Moral Freedom Summer or to help with voter registration, contact Jessica Injejikian directly at 704.884.6136 or jessica.injej@gmail.com

About the NAACP: Since its founding by a multi-racial group of activists in 1909, the NAACP has worked for the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. Even during periods of vicious violence and overt racial hostility, NAACP leaders and members have steadfastly and courageously kept to nonviolent means to advocate for greater justice through marches, the press, the ballot, lobbying, and litigation. For history of the NAACP visit http://www.naacphistory.org and http://www.naacpnc.org/history

While issues of racial injustice remain central to the NAACP, the organization takes very seriously its mission statement to seek equality of rights of all persons and is a powerful advocate for people who are marginalized. The NAACP is also committed to working for voting rights, women’s rights, marriage equality and environmental justice, ensuring the rights and protections for immigrants and undocumented persons, people without healthcare, people living in poverty and securing equal access to public education for all.

Watauga Branch NAACP general membership meetings are open to all and are held monthly on the third Sunday of each month, 4 PM at Boone Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 381 E. King Street. The next meeting is scheduled for Sunday August 17 and the community has an open invitation to this, as well as all other and subsequent monthly general meetings, to learn more about how to get involved at the local level.

For further information, please contact Branch President Cath Hopkins at 585-233-4019 or WataugaNAACP@gmail.com. To learn more about the Watauga NAACP Branch, visit them online at www.watauganaacp.weebly.com.

*Press release from Watauga NAACP Branch