Remember the history of lynchings in NC! Remember the innocent most recently released from Death Row in 2008, all Black men- Bo Jones, Glen Chapman, Jonathon Hoffman! Remember the racist trials in the South and NC – Darryl Hunt’s, Ronald Cotton’s! Remember advocates like Rev Finlator who fought for change! Remember the racial prejudices and assumptions that groups make toward each other! Remember that justice for so many relied on our lawmakers and that they did not let us down last night because of the hardwork of volunteers and coalitions throughout the state!
A landmark piece of legislation, the NC Racial Justice Act, has finally passed in NC that will help to fight racism in our criminal justice system. This highlights what can happen when diverse groups come together to impact change.
Last night the NC Racial Justice Act was sent to the Governor! RJA had an international following and a historic grassroots network of supporters in NC. The world was watching last night because RJA is landmark legislation in need of duplication.
This bill would have never passed without the hard work of the bill’s sponsors, Sen Floyd McKissick, Rep Larry Womble, Rep Earline Parmon, Rep Pricey Harrison, Rep Paul Luebke, House Speaker Joe Hackney (his fabulous team – Laura Devivo, Bill Holmes, Robin Johnson) and so many others who sacrificed so much. Special thanks to Rep Deborah Ross, Rep Bill Faison, Rep Phil Haire, Rep Angela Bryant, Rep Larry Hall who helped sponsors maneuver RJA through numerous committees.
Most importantly, the NC General Assembly and the state of NC witnessed the force of the NC Legislative Black Caucus (led by Rep Alma Adams) that locked arms from both chambers last night to win this bill. Senate Black Democrats marched to victory together with ranking member Senator Charlie Dannelly as their mouthpiece. They were also joined by progressive Senators Ellie Kinnaird, Dan Clodfelter, Doug Berger and Martin Nesbitt who worked hard for a concurrence vote last night.
So many people helped to win this bill because they recognized its need. Many more lawmakers made tremendous sacrifices for their work last night in spite of warnings from their Caucus’ leaders. But, ultimately they were led by their own faith ‘to do the right thing and vote for change.’.
We Did It because of You! So many people and groups coming together led to this victory! Specials thanks to the NAACP (led by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II), HK on J Coalition members, the NC Black Leadership Caucus (led by past chair Can, the NC Legislative Black Caucus, Blueprint NC members and all of our Moratorium Coalition’s partners’ staff and grassroots network!!!
Thank you for a job well done! The lives saved are forever grateful! My life has been enriched and my spirit blessed because of this fight! Thanks to my friend Donice Harbor for being my footsteps on this journey in both her life and recent passing! She opened doors to now Governor Beverly Perdue like no one else could.
-Charmaine Fuller Cooper, Executive Director
Carolina Justice Policy Center