The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday May 28th

Column: HB 318 tries to bury us


As Amerikkka continues to sanction the deportation, killing and exploitation of Black and brown bodies, the state of North Carolina chose to ramp up its reign of terror against these communities.

Last week, the North Carolina legislature passed HB 318, entitled “Protect North Carolina Workers Act,” and this act now sits on Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk, awaiting his signature or inaction in order to become law.

What McCrory is currently contemplating is a state-sanctioned attack on North Carolina’s immigrant, Latina/o and Black communities. The title is deliberately misleading; which workers are protected by this law and why?

According to a statement issued by Student Action with Farmworkers, the bill cuts off food assistance to unemployed people. HB 318 makes it easier for employers to abuse their power by silencing Black and Latina/o workers and by amplifying the threat of deportation. Matricula cards and other forms of identification issued by the Mexican Consulate will no longer be accepted. This bill also expressly targets and continues to marginalize Latina/o farm workers, a community that is already incredibly vulnerable, according to SAF, with little access to health care, safe housing, working conditions and fair pay.

We ask again, who does this bill truly claim to protect?

The answer is simple; HB 318 protects the values and goals of Amerikkka by furthering the economic exploitation that is mass incarceration and by preserving the system that demands people of color are economically and systematically oppressed. We see these goals enacted here in North Carolina and across the country; the rate of deportations and mass incarceration in this country have been higher than ever in the past decade. We see our Black and brown brothers and sisters murdered across the country. While some of these murders are televised, others are hidden. Just this past year, mass graves of the bodies of unidentified migrant Latina/os were found in Texas.

Black and brown people in this country are literally treated as disposable. Latina/o, Black, Asian and indigenous workers have historically and presently put the food on Amerikkka’s table, are foundational to its existing economy and contribute culture to an otherwise insipidly whitewashed society. Yet Amerikkka continues to bury our bodies and stories beneath the very country we have built in its attempt to silence us.

Legislators of this state are continuing to make Black and Latina/o communities simultaneously hypervisible and invisible; these communities are historically and systematically stripped of power and voice, while at the same time over policed, racially profiled and brutalized.

HB 318 does nothing but perpetuate the terror and violence inflicted by Amerikkka on Black and Latina/o people living in North Carolina. We must stand against HB 318 and sign the petition to tell McCrory to veto this bill. They will try to bury us, but they don’t know we are seeds.


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