Will you join us May 19 in Raleigh?

Kara Davies at NC NAACP press conference 5-14-14Many of the regressive, harmful policies voted into law during the 2013 NC legislative session are now coming into effect in 2014, and North Carolinians across the state are starting to feel what these policies will mean in practice. Like the elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – a proven effective and crucial tool for lifting women and families out of poverty. North Carolina is the first state to do this in nearly 30 years, adding yet another dubious distinction to a legislative session full of such demonstrations of complete disregard for the reality of what many of us are facing .

For every policy put into place, there is a story about an individual affected by it. Sharing your story of hardship or vulnerability publicly is not easy, especially to a populace that finds it easy to judge, and sometimes seems lacking in compassion. We’re proud of first year board member and Director at Large Kara Davies for sharing her story of what the EITC has meant to her and her family at the NC NAACP press conference last week. And we are proud to stand up with her and all the other North Carolinians calling for equality for all.

We are a partner to the HKonJ, Forward Together, Coalition, and we hope that you will join us today – and all summer – at the NCGA in Raleigh as we demand the legislators – our representatives – right the wrongs of these misguided policies. Policies that show both a lack of compassion and of understanding for the people of this state and the realities of our lives.

We appreciate all of your on-line support this past year – retweeting our info, “liking” our posts, forwarding our emails and links, and signing our members’ petitions. We had a feminist army calling and emailing our legislators and writing op-eds and letters to the editor. Your support of our on-line efforts have helped take our message to every part of North Carolina and beyond. But I would also like to put in a plug for showing up when asked, something you all did again and again last summer.

Our on-line and social media support is critical – but I’m not sure it is what caught the attention of our legislators and the general public this past year. I think over 500 women’s rights supporters showing up on 12 hours notice to protest a bill, and getting handed a plate of cookies outside of the Governor’s mansion later that summer may have helped remind North Carolinians that women should be allowed to make their own choices. And over 900 arrests and thousands showing up week after week in Raleigh contributed just as much, if not more, to the declining approval ratings of what was happening at the NCGA. Seeing so many take to the streets in protest may have contributed to the commitment (lip service?) to address teacher pay and the Duke coal ash spill this coming short session. And it certainly wasn’t Facebook that convinced the NCGA to make one of their first acts of the short session an attempt to limit our voices lifted in protest. In short – there’s a lot to be said for getting off the computer and actually showing up.

Taking up real space – rather than virtual – to call for justice is an act of community that is hard to ignore, and less likely to be filtered out and dismissed than our on-line protests. It’s not that on-line protests can’t be effective; but there is still something about seeing an organic grouping of people who took the time to be somewhere together that convinces people of the seriousness and depth of feeling of what is happening. And it makes people take notice.

We understand that many of you can’t always – or ever – be with us in Raleigh, and we do appreciate all of your support, whatever that support looks like. It’s just icing on our cake when you can also join us in person, and literally take a stand for justice and equality for all. We appreciate all of you who came out all last summer when asked, and we hope to see all of you again this summer. Meet us at 16 West Jones Street, Raleigh. 5pm, Mondays, this summer.

Tara Romano, President, NCWU


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