The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday December 10th

Activists begin week of protesting NC legislature

The N.C. chapter of the NAACP will join in solidarity with at least 12 other states, including Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia, to raise opposition against conservative policies nationwide.

Seven days of protest will culminate next Thursday with a “Vote Your Dreams, Not Your Fears” rally, advocating for voting rights in the state.

The Rev. William Barber, president of the N.C. NAACP, said the goal for the week is to shape a fresh conversation in state politics.

“Our criticism is rooted in legitimate discontent, based in empirical foundations and a clear focus on the fact that we can do better,” Barber said.

Barber emphasized that the ideology of the Forward Together movement, which grew out of the Moral Monday protests that began in 2013, is supported by a majority of North Carolinians.

State leaders of the NAACP will be joined in protest by members of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro chapter of the group, including its president, Robert Campbell.

“We have been a part of the Moral Movement from day one,” Campbell said in an email. “We have over 200 members that have been jailed standing for justice.”

Rob Schofield, director of research and policy development at N.C. Policy Watch, said he expects the week’s demonstrations to target the General Assembly’s recent cuts to public education and increased funding for private and charter schools.

He added that Republican lawmakers’ actions are permitting LGBT discrimination in schools.

Tazra Mitchell, a budget and tax analyst at the N.C. Justice Center, said the tax reform plan that the legislature passed in 2013 will grievously hurt the state.

She estimated that the income tax cuts alone will cost the state around $5 billion in lost funding over the next 10 years.

“Other states are doing better and have already restored funding to programs that were cut during the recession,” Mitchell said.

Barber said the Forward Together movement will persist until state lawmakers commit to substantive change.

“We believe in fairness, equality, equal protection under the law and that we can, will and must be better.”

state@dailytarheel.com



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