Statement Read by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 10:00 AM
Martin Street Baptist Church
Announcing Southern NAACP State Conferences Converging on Raleigh for Civil Rights Training Institute and Comments on NAACP at UN Meeting about Geneva Voting Rights Violations.
(RALEIGH) - Today, Wednesday, March 14, 2012, we the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP are here in Raleigh to announce a major gathering in North Carolina of seven Southern states next week. Also today, across the Atlantic Ocean, NAACP leaders are in Geneva, Switzerland presenting evidence of the violations of the voting rights of African-Americans and other minorities to the United Nations. We are gathering in Raleigh next week to mobilize against forces that would steal, suppress and segregate the African-American and minority vote. The attacks on voting rights here in North Carolina, across the South and across the Nation are an international shame for this country, worthy of being brought to light on the international level. Both in Geneva and in Raleigh, we build upon the organization's 103 year-old struggle for equality and justice.
Sixty-five years ago, in 1947, W.E.B. DuBois of the NAACP also addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council with a speech titled "An Appeal to the World: A Statement on the Denial of Human Rights to Minorities and an Appeal to the United Nations for Redress." The Appeal was a study of the denial of the right to vote and other forms of discrimination in the United States. Shortly after this speech, President Harry Truman created the first civil rights commission.
This week, the NAACP will send a delegation to the United Nations in Geneva Switzerland. Prompted by the most massive assault on voting rights in modern memory, Chairman Roslyn M. Brock and President Benjamin Todd Jealous will lead the delegation and present before the UN Commission on Human Rights on the threats to voting rights in the United States. In the past 12 months, more states have passed more laws blocking the vote of more US citizens than in any year since the rise of Jim Crow.
The NAACP will be holding a series of meetings with UN officials throughout the week to discuss voting rights in the United States. On Wednesday, March 14, the NAACP will lead a panel discussion in the Palais des Nations called "Voting Rights and People of Color in the United States."
We are asking the United Nations for two things. First, to investigate the attacks on voting rights by multiple state governments across the United States; and second, to ensure that the global community understands issues surrounding the attack on voting rights, and to help safeguard against these sorts of laws being replicated in other countries.
The U.S. is considered by many nations as the gold standard of democracy around the world. Changes to our democracy tend to have major impacts overseas, from democracies to dictatorships. We are concerned with attempts by dozens of states to limit voter participation by limiting the forms of acceptable identification needed to vote, shortening early voting opportunities, restricting where and when eligible voters may register, and banning formerly incarcerated citizens from the polls. All told, the new legislation may threaten the voting rights of millions of US citizens, with people of color affected disproportionately.
The eve of this 59th Annual NAACP Southeast Regional Civil Rights Advocacy Training Institute, marks the 47th anniversary of a march led by religious and civil rights activists, finally able to begin from Selma to Montgomery under the protection of the National Guard. The National Guard was needed to protect the marchers from the hateful violence of hundreds of crazed hecklers. Most historians credit the courageous sacrifices of the marchers with creating the political atmosphere that secured passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The oldest and largest civil rights organization in the nation, which was outlawed in much of the South until the 1950's, will bring grassroots NAACP community activists from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina to Raleigh to share experiences and compare notes in the fight across the South against the all-out efforts of the extreme right to suppress minority voting and roll back the gains made in other areas of economic justice and equal protection under the law, especially in the South.
This conference could not come at a more critical time in North Carolina and the South. The struggle for equality and justice begins in the South. The Southern Legion of the NAACP is where the former members of the organization battled Jim Crow, but today we battle the tactics of James Crow, Esquire! James Crow, Esq. does not feature night-riders in sheets, terrorizing black voters with physical threats, overt racial messaging, poll taxes or other disenfranchisement tricks. These same forces know that blatant Jim Crow acts are illegal, so they came up with their James Crow, Esq. schemes instead. Jim Crow used blunt tools. James Crow, Esq. uses surgical tools to cut out the heart of black political power.
Thursday, March 22, 2012 the Southern Institute begins with a Religious Emphasis Day at Martin Street Baptist Church. Through Sunday, March 25, the Institute will feature nationally-recognized leaders and experts in education policy, labor organizations and the civil rights legal community. On Saturday morning, 9-11 AM, the seven Southern State NAACP Conferences will meet at the Raleigh Civic Center Plaza for an out-door Rally called "This is My Vote!" to challenge the racist attacks on minority voting rights across the South and remind us of the bloody fight to win minority voting rights. "This is My Vote" will feature NAACP State Conference Presidents from the NAACP Southeast Region: Ms. Gloria J. Sweet-Love, Tennessee; Dr. Lonnie Randolph, South Carolina; Mr. Edward Dubose, Georgia: Ms. Adora Obi Nweze, Florida; Mr. Derrick Johnson, Esq., Mississippi; and Mr. Bernard Simelton, Alabama. NAACP Youth & College Division leaders will also be featured at the rally.
Now, 47 years later, the ultra-conservative Tea Party, funded by millions of dollars from rich, right-wing corporations, have set in motion a south-wide campaign against our voting rights, public education, economic justice and equal protection. In North Carolina, we have seen this first hand. In the state legislature, they have attacked the well being of African-Americans, the poor, children, women, the LGBT community, the elderly and Latinos and other minorities.
We are honored to welcome these warriors for human rights from across the South to our capital city. North Carolina is the state of the Greensboro and Durham Sit-Ins, which spread like wildfire across the nation, young people building a movement too big to destroy. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded at Shaw University here in Raleigh. We are the home of Ella Baker and Carolyn Q. Coleman, mothers of the modern Civil Rights Movement, just name a few.
SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS FROM
The 59th NAACP Southeast Region Civil Rights Advocacy Training Institute
Thursday, March 22 - With the exception of Thursday's "Religious Emphasis Day" events, the conference will be held at the Raleigh Convention Center. Highlights include:
Thursday, March 22, "RELIGIOUS EMPHASIS DAY" Events - Martin Street Baptist Church 1001 E. Martin Street, Raleigh:
- 11 a.m. PRESS CONFERENCE;
- 12 p.m. RELIGIOUS LEADERS LUNCHEON;
- 2 p.m. "THE NECESSITY OF THE CHURCH'S PROPHETIC WITNESS IN TIMES LIKE THESE" Panel Discussion;
- 3:30 p.m. "POLITICAL & CIVIC ENGAGEMENT FROM A CHURCH PERSPECTIVE" Panel Discussion;
- 5 p.m. "DINNER FOR THE SOUL";
- 7 p.m. COMMUNITY MASS MEETING & MEMORIAL PROGRAM, Rev. Dr. Madeline McClenney-Sadler, Speaker;
Friday, March 23 - Raleigh Convention Center
- 7 a.m. WORKER'S RIGHTS/HUMAN RIGHTS (LABOR) BREAKFAST,
- 2:30 p.m. LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY WORKSHOP, Senior Vice President NAACP Advocacy and Policy Division Director Hilary O. Shelton, Presenter; VOTER'S RIGHTS TOWN HALL MEETING;
Saturday, March 24 - Raleigh Convention Center
- 9:00 a.m., "THIS IS MY VOTE" Rally & Town Hall Meeting will be held at the Raleigh Civic Center Plaza;
- 10:45 a.m. "COALITION BUILDING: REBUILDING THE SOUTHERN ANTI-RACIST MOVEMENT IN ORDER TO TRANSFORM THE NATION" NC NAACP President and HKonJ Convener, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, will serve as one of the Presenters.
- 12:30 p.m. LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY LUNCHEON, National NAACP President & CEO, Benjamin Todd Jealous, Speaker;
- 2:30 p.m. VOTING RIGHTS WORKSHOP;
- 7:30 p.m. MEDGAR W. EVERS FREEDOM AWARDS BANQUET, Honorable Congressman G.K. Butterfield, US House of Representatives, 1st District NC, Speaker and special honoree Ms. Carolyn Q. Coleman, 1st Vice President of the NC NAACP and National Board Member;
- 9 p.m. 'BLOOD DONE SIGNED MY NAME' Movie will be viewed in the Raleigh Marriott City Center.The movie is based upon a true story, which took place in Oxford, NC. The Best-Selling book was written by our own Dr. Timothy B. Tyson, a Professor at Duke University and who serves as NC NAACP Education Committee Chair.
Get the Full Schedule Here: Download Adult Program-NAACP Southeast Region CRATI