Yesterday, HRC staff, supporters and volunteers from across North Carolina joined with Equality NC and the ACLU of NC to Rally in Raleigh after Governor McCrory signed disgraceful anti-LGBT legislation into law. This shameful bill, HB 2, was rushed through the General Assembly in an emergency “special session” where lawmakers were given limited time to review the bill and public testimony was severely restricted. Within hours of the eight-hour special session ending, McCrory signed the bill into law. Outrageous.
North Carolina Unites Against Discrimination, a project of the Human Rights Campaign, Equality North Carolina and ACLU, convened a space at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh to allow supporters and activists to channel their hurt and anger while showing elected officials that North Carolinians will not stand for this level of hate against the LGBT community and will continue the fight for equality.
HB 2 repeals the recently passed non-discrimination protections in Charlotte and thwarts other North Carolina municipalities who desire to be open and welcoming to all people. This appalling new law eliminates existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people; prevents such provisions from being passed by cities in the future; and force transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity, putting 4.5 billion dollars in federal funding under Title IX at risk.
Over 500 supporters gathered and heard encouraging remarks from leaders of Equality NC, ACLU of North Carolina, NAACP, HRC’s Chief of Staff Joni Madison, Senator Mike Woodard, Commissioner John Burns, Rep. Duane Hall, Rev. Curtis Gatewood, as well as several other activists, community members and faith leaders.
“Yesterday was hard for us, for people we love…We are going to court as soon as possible, and we will change this hateful law...The fight did not end yesterday, it just began.” Said Sarah Preston, Executive Director of ACLU of North Carolina. “Our oppressions are connected...We must dare to be powerful...This is not over. We will do whatever it takes…” added Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Businesses including Dow, Paypal, NBA, IBM, Google and Biogen have spoken out against the deplorable legislation and more continue to do so. “There is no economic value to divisive and non-inclusive legislature...It is the business community that really understands and they value people how they show up at work...HRC stands along with Equality NC and our other local partners...I am not going to be ashamed of my state because I look out and I see my state here...so we will work together and make a difference in November.” said HRC’s Madison.
Senator Woodard thanked those gathered at the rally and the courageous transgender North Carolinians who provided testimony at the special session. Senator Woodard added, “The most important pronouns in this fight are We, Us and Ours.” Crystal Richardson of Equality NC added, “We prevailed in Charlotte, we will prevail again.”
Senator Mike Woodard, Equality NC Crystal Richardson and Equality NC Board Member.
HRC volunteers with ENC’s Crystal Richardson and Chapel Hill Councilman Lee Storrow.
NAACP Rev. Curtis Gatewood addresses the crowd before bringing forth a special message from Rev. Dr. William Barber who called in to give encouraging remarks to the audience.
Over 500 in attendance at the rally in Raleigh.