July 22, 2013. The 12th wave of protests at the North Carolina General Assembly will be held tonight, with the protection of voting rights, which have been under attack via a slew of regressive and discriminatory bills proposed by the state legislature this year, serving as the theme for the night.
The rally will begin outside the General Assembly on Halifax Mall (300 N. Salisbury Street) at 5:00 pm. While some will remain outside after the rally, others will walk inside the statehouse to exercise their constitutional right to participate in civil disobedience and risk arrest in the name of their rights, and the rights of all North Carolinians.
Less than two weeks removed from the announcement of the verdict in the Travyon Martin case, tonight’s protest will also look at the impact voting rights and civic engagement have on public education and the criminal justice system.
“Voting rights are essential to dealing with the issues that we’re concerned about in terms of the laws and the verdicts that so many are deeply disturbed about as it relates to Trayvon Martin,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President of the NC NAACP. “That’s why we must fight for voting rights. That’s why it’s such an attack on our democracy when you try to undermine voting rights. Everybody who had something to do with the case was either elected or appointed, and hired by people that were elected. The stand-your-ground law was passed by people who were elected. We cannot have a system where ALEC [American Legislative Exchange Council], for instance, has more influence on policy than the people. If you begin to isolate the power of the vote, then you disallow people to be disengaged in the shaping of public policy and you end up getting more regressive policy that can be used in discriminatory ways, and sometimes with deadly effects.”
“What I tell the young people that love and respect Travyon is that if you really love him and respect him, then let’s get everyone aged 17, 18, and 19 registered to vote, let’s fight anything that would keep us from being able to vote, and let’s turn around these laws that are on the books that allow people to be literally killed. Voting rights is a battle we must fight, and we will win.”
Since seizing control of the state government earlier this year, Republican lawmakers have introduced a series of restrictive and discriminatory voting laws, which, through supermajority in both houses of the General Assembly, they are attempting to push through:
- Strict state-issued photo ID requirements
- Cutting a full week from the early voting period and all early voting on Sundays
- Repealing same-day voter registration
- Slapping a tax penalty on parents whose children register to vote where they attend college
- Enforcing a 5-year waiting period, after a person has served their time, before they can get their voting rights back, creating the most restrictive felony disenfranchisement law in the country
For more information, please contact Jennifer Farmer, Advancement Project, 614-596-0432.