By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
In a daring move for the oldest civil rights group in the U.S., the NAACP is set to formally call for a boycott of the state of North Carolina during the last week of 2016.
Led by North Carolina State Chapter President Dr. William Barber, the boycott would be another bold move in Barber’s “fusion politics” strategy that joins Blacks and progressive Whites together on several issues and has a specific history in North Carolina dating back to the 1890s. Barber is focused on voting rights, fighting voter suppression and joined interests that focused on the original meaning of the Constitution.
After the Republican-controlled North Carolina state legislature gutted the power of the newly-elected Democratic Governor Roy Cooper on December 15, the NAACP N.C. state chapter increased the pressure on lawmakers in the state with protests and a threatened lawsuit. A boycott of South Carolina over the flying of the Confederate flag at their state capitol in Columbia that lasted 15 years cost South Carolina millions of dollars.
The push by the North Carolina NAACP for an economic boycott is another example of their willingness to “go big” and bring attention to political issues with constant activism. The N.C. NAACP’s November 8th long-fought victory against the state in court earlier this year and their Election Day win over Republican Governor Pat McCrory were the result of a diverse political coalition of Blacks and Whites backing economic and progressive issues with a moral connection rather than by the usual “blue state/red state” politics.
“We must do it, we believe, as this new legislature is trying to raise a new Confederacy, in policy, right here in North Carolina,” said Barber at a recent press conference.
In 2016, North Carolina had already been targeted for boycotts by companies, celebrities and other entities after the legislature failed to include protections for LGBT individuals in a non-discrimination law earlier this year. The National Basketball Association (NBA) decided against having the All-Star Game in North Carolina, PayPal cancelled a plan to move 400 jobs into the state and singer Bruce Springsteen cancelled a concert in April in protest related to the ongoing controversy.
Republicans in the state convened a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly and debated for more than nine hours on December 21 to repeal HB2, also known as the “bathroom bill,” which bars cities from enacting anti-discrimination policies protecting individuals on the basis of sexual orientation. Even though the effort was led by North Carolina Republicans and outgoing Governor Pat McCrory, the repeal measure failed to pass.
The N.C. state chapter of the NAACP announced plans to hold a “Moral March” on Feb 11, 2017 in Raleigh against the unconstitutional overreach of the North Carolina General Assembly. The N.C. NAACP has also announced that they will meet with the national NAACP to call for a national economic boycott of North Carolina after Christmas.
Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer and political analyst. Lauren is a frequent contributor to BlackPressUSA.com and the NNPA Newswire, the news service of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. She can be reached by email at LBurke007@gmail.com and on Twitter at @LVBurke.