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Fighting voter suppression in North Carolina

By B.J. Murphy

Organizing the Winston-Salem Young People Coalition for Justice

Winston-Salem, NC – On July 25, people gathered here at the First Calvary Baptist Church to discuss the formation of a Young People Coalition for Justice. The meeting was organized to first bring people of the community together and talk on the issues currently going on and how they, as a community, should begin addressing them.

The main topic covered was the North Carolina voter suppression bill, HB 589. This bill, which is being pushed by the right wing, would bar people from voting who don’t have a approved photo ID; would eliminate same-day voter registration; eliminate an entire week in early voting; only permit citizens to vote in their specific precinct, etc. This bill is being labeled as the worst voter suppression bill in the nation.

Nicole Little, local organizer and Wake Forest University grad, stated, “Officially, according to this new bill, parents will be prosecuted if they were to allow their child to vote outside of their district. They can face criminal charges just for allowing their child to vote in another district. It’s insane.” She added, “This will affect the poor, low-income communities as well, especially those who are handicapped or with disabilities who can’t get up in the morning and go out to vote as early as the bill demands.”

Talks of the next Justice for Trayvon Martin rally were held. Local organizers dubbed it as the NEXT Rally.

Delinzia Upson, a foreclosure prevention coordinator and writer for BE Winston Salem news blog, talked about the upcoming rally, “This event right here is about connecting people with individual sets and come up with a general solution. We’ve got in contact with the NAACP and Occupy Winston-Salem. We’ve been in touch with the political people running for office this year, including organizations who’ve worked with women, children and men to come along as well.”

Upson continued, “The idea is that, in having these political groups present, they can all tell the people what they’re fighting for, so that those people can connect with them and begin joining in with that fight.”

The NEXT Rally will be Saturday, July 27, at 11 a.m. on 1415 East 14th Street in Winston-Salem. The next meeting for the Young People Coalition for Justice will be held July 30, at 6 p.m. at First Calvary Baptist Church on 401 Woodland Avenue.

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