|NAACP targets Pope for protests|
|N.C. budget director funds conservatives|
|Published Wednesday, October 16, 2013 8:15 pm|
The N.C. NAACP is gearing up for another round of protests against the state’s rightward tilt by targeting its financial leader.
The civil rights group is calling for public protests at retail stores owned by State Budget Director Art Pope, a major bankroller of right-wing causes and candidates. Critics say Pope-financed conservatives have stripped North Carolina of decades of civil and voting rights gains and hindered economic recovery.
“We must do our ancestors proud,” Barber said at Sunday’s State of Civil Rights address to the NAACP. “We can do no less than what they did. We must do more.”
The NAACP will also urge Gov. Pat McCrory to call lawmakers to the state capital in Raleigh to extend Medicaid coverage and unemployment insurance to residents who were cut off earlier this year.
Barber said the NAACP’s goals include:
• Urging McCrory to call on lawmakers to extend Medicaid coverage for 500,000 North Carolinians and unemployment benefits for 170,000 more. The Forward Together Movement will work through Thanksgiving and Hanukkah getting signatures for the petition.
• A mass Moral Monday on Dec. 23: Activists will gather in Raleigh to either acknowledge McCrory’s call for a special session or protest the loss of Medicaid and unemployment benefits.
• Picket Pope-owned stores. N.C. NAACP delegates passed a resolution to get approval from the national NAACP to launch what Barber calls an “informational picket campaign” at Maxway and Roses stores, which are owned by Pope, a major financial backer of conservative candidates and the architect of the state’s budget tightening.
The pickets will connect Pope’s family fortune to financing campaigns by tea party-backed politicians and state budget cuts that hurt the poor.
• Supporting education justice lawsuits that challenge cuts to public education as unconstitutional.
• Fighting the voting overhaul law in courts, at the ballot box and through protests by the 2014 election.
“This is a fight we must fight and we must win,” Barber said.
• Voter registration and education across the state in preparation for the 2014 election.
• Historic Thousands on Jones Street rally on Feb. 8, 2014 to protest laws passed by the General Assembly during the 2013 long session.
The NAACP and Moral Monday organizers hosted 13 protests at the General Assembly building during the 2013 legislative session as well as spinoff rallies across the state that gained national attention.
“You have put a spotlight on injustice in this nation,” Barber told delegates.
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