Black Alliance For Peace Condemns Trial Of Black Activist Dedan Waciuri

North Carolina – After a number of delays and questionable prosecutorial behavior in their attempts to force a plea-deal because of the weakness of their case, Dedan Waciuri, a resident of Greenville, North Carolina is scheduled to be tried December 7th in the city of Greenville on two charges: “damage to government property” and “inciting a riot.” These charges stem from a protest organized in Greenville on May 31, 2020, in relation to the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and police violence directed at members of the Black community in general.

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP), a national anti-war and human rights organization believes that the charges against Dedan, a member of BAP’s Coordinating Committee, are a blatant attempt to send a message to the Black communities in Eastern North Carolina that resistance to oppression and the fight for human rights will result in confronting the full weight of the power of the state.

Continue reading

Community Begins Eviction Resistance To Combat Wave Of Displacement

Asheville, NC – Community members, including tenants and precariously housed people, have come together on November 4th to resist an eviction in support of a multi-generational family experiencing forced displacement by Buncombe County. A number of people have occupied the property and have refused to leave until the city and county enact real solutions to the widely experienced housing crisis. Dressed as woodland creatures, the group brought a banner that says “Everyone needs a home”.

The family being evicted—a mother, grandmother and two children under 5, who wish to remain unnamed due to fear of finding suitable housing in the future—has been living in their home in the Sweeten Creek area for six years in good standing, with part of their rent covered by the Section 8 program.

Continue reading

North Carolina: More Felony Offenders Can Now Vote

Raleigh, NC — Tens of thousands of North Carolina residents convicted of felonies but whose current punishments don’t include prison time can register to vote and cast ballots, a judicial panel declared Monday.

Several civil rights groups and ex-offenders who sued legislative leaders and state officials in 2019 argue the current 1973 law is unconstitutional by denying the right vote to people who have completed their active sentences or received no such sentence, such as people on probation. They said the rules disproportionately affect Black residents and originated from an era of white supremacy in the 19th century.

In a brief hearing following a trial last week challenging the state’s voting restrictions upon felons, Superior Court Judge Lisa Bell said two judges on the three-judge panel have agreed they would issue a formal order soon allowing more felony offenders to register.

Continue reading

Farmer Co-Ops Are Giving Latinx Communities Room To Grow

On Sundays, Edith Alas Ortega travels 20 minutes from her home to a farm field in Henderson County, North Carolina, and takes a deep breath. “There’s a mental and physical healing that happens out here,” she said in Spanish. Ortega is one of five members of Tierra Fértil Coop—“fertile ground” in English—an agricultural, worker-owned cooperative for and by Latinx immigrants. The group—three Salvadoran and three Mexican immigrants—meet every week on their one-acre parcel in Hendersonville that provides vegetables for the families involved as well as enough for resale, with a focus on culturally appropriate ingredients for the Latinx market.

Ortega marvels at the first strawberries of the season on a recent morning in June—just 40 for now.

Continue reading

Local Activists Call Attention To Housing Rights

Graham, North Carolina – Amy Cooper said she and a handful of other activists came together at Court Square in Graham on Wednesday for an event touting tenants’ rights while decrying evictions. 

“A lot of landlords take advantage of people not knowing their rights, so one of the things we want to do is push tenants’ rights so people know what they can and can’t do as a tenant,” Cooper said. 

Cooper’s thoughts echo criticism from housing advocates across the country. Last Wednesday, housing rights advocates held simultaneous nationwide demonstrations in the hopes of sparking a paradigm shift away from the current system of landlords using evictions as a threat against tenants. Many argue housing is a human right and the system should reflect that. 

Continue reading

An Apology For A Massacre

Greensborough, NC – Public accountability for their actions often awaits evildoers who hurt people. For many who spilled onto the streets in a mood of relief, jubilation and celebration at the election news of a soon-to-be outgoing president, a day of reckoning for the nation had come. Only weeks earlier, a Southern city cautiously enacted its overdue moral reckoning with an apology for a massacre. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous proclamation, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” is an applicable lens for these events.

On November 3, 1979, in Greensboro, North Carolina, at approximately 11:20 on a bright Saturday morning, nine carloads of Ku Klux Klansmen and American Nazis drove into the…

Continue reading

Fast-Food Workers Demanded — And Won — COVID Protections

Durham, NC – In early September, Jamila Allen led a group of 18 co-workers out the front doors of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers to protest the lack of safety measures taken by management in dealing with COVID-19. A coworker had tested positive for COVID-19, but the restaurant had refused to pay workers for time to quarantine. The strikers demanded a professional deep cleaning of the store, two weeks paid leave to self-quarantine, and $15 per hour hazard pay.

Outside the eatery in West Durham, workers at the national fast-food chain were joined by dozens of supporters from the Fight for $15, the Poor People’s Campaign, and other local groups, who joined in chants of “I believe that we will win” and “Put some respect on my check.” 

Continue reading

Why A 58-day vigil Is Going On Outside The Governor’s House

Demonstrators gathered outside the Executive Mansion on Sunday to demand that Gov. Roy Cooper use his powers of pardon and clemency to protect people who are incarcerated during the pandemic.

Members of Decarcerate Now NC, a coalition of organizations which say they’re working to end to mass incarceration, have been holding daily vigils outside the governor’s mansion since Election Day and plan to continue through Jan. 1, when Cooper begins his second term. That’s a total of 58 days.

“We stand vigil to bring attention to your Administration’s ongoing failure to prioritize and appropriately protect Black lives — indeed, any lives incarcerated in state prisons — from Covid-19.

Continue reading

Racist Roots: Origins Of North Carolina’s Death Penalty

Right now, our nation is in a moment of reckoning with our criminal punishment system. We are finally seeing clearly what should have been obvious long ago: The system has its knee on the necks of Black people.

In North Carolina, as we begin a long-overdue conversation about the future of police and prisons, we must confront the punishment that sits at the top of that system, condoning all its other cruelties — the death penalty.

When citizens have acclimated to the state strapping a person to a gurney and killing them in front of an audience, it becomes harder to shock them.

Continue reading

At North Carolina Colleges, ‘Safe Jobs Save Lives’

The UNC-Chapel Hill administration’s communications team finally acknowledged the spread of infection half an hour later and issued a campus alert. 

The administrators had spent months fighting students, workers, local and state governments, the N.C. Department of Health, virtually every local community group — and the very concept of human dignity — to push forward an in-person reopening.

The University of North Carolina, a statewide system of 16 colleges and universities, wields considerable indirect power over the entire higher education sector in the state. This is reflected in the in-person openings underway at nearby private schools Duke University and Elon College.  All around North Carolina, workers united are saying, “Safe Jobs Save Lives!”

Continue reading

Campus Workers Sue UNC System Over Unsafe Working Conditions

North Carolina university employees are suing the UNC System, saying working conditions are unsafe as tens of thousands of students return to campuses during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Essential workers across UNC System campuses continue to report to work with inadequate protective equipment to ensure their safety,” the UE150, NC Public Service Workers Union said in a statement Monday.

Some university employees, including housekeepers and other campus workers, are provided one or two masks per week and many don’t have access to face shields or gowns, according to the union.

Continue reading

Witness Against Torture Prison Hunger Strike

Shine’s hunger strike is now in its second week and the next few days of pressure are critical!  So WAT family:

Contact Shane Tharrington and demand Shine’s (Joseph Stewart #0802041) release from solitary even if you’re not fasting in solidarity: & 984-255-6100.  The Call-to-Action gives you history and details to elaborate on.  Tell Mr. Tharrington: “As a member of Witness Against Torture, I stand resolute against the use of solitary confinement. Re-classify Joseph “Shine White” Stewart because solitary confinement is torture. “

Continue reading

Newly Released Video Shows Jailed Black Man Died In Custody

Newly released video footage shows a Black man in custody in medical distress, repeatedly telling corrections officers he couldn’t breathe as officers struggled to detain him after he experienced a medical event in a North Carolina jail two days before he died.

Five corrections officers and one nurse have since been fired and charged with involuntary manslaughter for their role in the death of a 56-year-old James Elliott Neville, who died on December 4, 2019. The video, released this week as part of a judge’s order, depicts events that occurred at the Forsyth County Jail on December 2, 2019, two days before his death and one day after he was arrested on assault charges by the Kernersville Police Department, according to the report. 

The Forsyth County Medical Examiner said Neville’s death was caused by “complications of hypoxic-ischemic brain injury due to cardiopulmonary arrest due to positional and compressional asphyxia during prone restraint.”

The Greensboro, North Carolina, man had been revived several times, both at the jail and in the hospital before he entered a coma and ultimately died.

Continue reading

Occupy The Block For The Neville Family On Third Week

On day 22 of Occupy the Block #OccupyWSNC, demonstrators gathered at Bailey Park at 10 am.

At 3 pm, approximately 300 occupiers, supporters, and the Neville Family gathered on the sidewalk outside the Forsyth County Courthouse for the Rally of Support for the Neville Family. Activists spoke of love for the Neville family and called for transparency and accountability from our officials. Sean Neville offered words of thanks for the movement.

Meanwhile, officers lined the windows at the entrance of the courthouse. Bike cops stalked the gathering, following the group even as they marched and threatened participants if they stepped off the sidewalk.

Continue reading