Groundwater Op-Ed 9/14/17

On Tuesday night this week, a group of nearly 200 people gathered at the Elon Community Church of Christ to do something quite radical in these divided times. Hosted by AREA, the Alamance Racial Equity Alliance, these people gathered to learn about the subject of racism. We have often heard this term, especially as of late in the wake of the white supremacist terrorist attack in Charlottesville, VA. Rarely do we, however, have a true grasp on what this term means, nor are we all in agreement about the definition itself. Tuesday evening, people gathered to learn about just that. What is racism? How is our society affected by it? How can one measure racial equity?

Dr. Terrence Young and Deena Hayes of the Racial Equity Institute directed our attention at structural entities, often separated, that keep us from having this discussion of racism. It is highlighted in our systems of health, education, housing, criminal justice, political access and more. When these systems are discussed, we separate them and deal with problems called “health disparity”, the “achievement gap”, “disproportionality in neighborhoods” ETC. What we are seeing is that these titles are only serving to fragment the addressing of an underlying problem, systematic racism. Dr. Young went on to explain that merely the discussion of class or poverty do not solely explain this problem. Across all sorts of comparisons, populations who are white in our country have created and maintained a vast advantage over populations of color.

Slide after slide of documented examples flashed upon the screen. Some people shifted in their seats. Some people had to leave. Some people shook their heads and made audible sounds of disapproval, not of the messages, but of the content of the data in all its starkness and undeniability. Imagine the crux of this lecture being based on the simple fact that for at least 350 years, there have been considerable advantages held by white people that have not been enjoyed by people of color, and further, those advantages were stolen from, denied, and held above people of color. The quote, “Working twice as hard to get only half as far” applies to our current understanding of racism. We are looking at a history that flows right into today.

If you pay attention to children, you will notice that they do not accept unfairness well. They call it out exactly as they see it. Racism should be called out for exactly what it is – a systemic feature of an unfair system perpetuated by the silence of white people who say things like, “I don’t see color” or “Racism is in our history, but I don’t have anything to do with that.” Look around, it is apparent in every system upon which we depend, every corner we turn. I am so grateful that finally there are conversations being had, lectures being given, and consciousness being raised to the fact that this systemic problem of racism needs to be dealt with, and it comes not a moment too soon.

Anita Kinney, Alamance county native white woman, member of the Alamance County NAACP

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OPEN HOUSE Wed 7/19

Dear friends, please join us for an Open House on Wednesday, July 19 at May Memorial Library.

We would love it if you’d RSVP so that we know how much pizza to order!  And please bring a friend!

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We hope to see you there!

2017 Freedom Fund Banquet

Last night, at our 43rd Annual Freedom Fund Banquet, we gathered celebrated a year of growth & advocacy by both our membership and other partners in our community. The night began with music and messages from our membership, our award ceremony, a motivational message delivered by our Keynote Speaker, Dr. Sir Walter Mack, and finally a message from our president, Barrett Brown.

“We have grown as a branch is size, diversity and capacity. As we move forward this year we rededicate ourselves to voting rights, equal protection under the law, economic and environmental justice and the principals and ideals that will serve to make Alamance County better. Make NC a place where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great and contribute to making America live up to its promise of a perfect union.” – Barrett Brown, Branch President

We would like to thank all who made this event possible, as well as all who attended, for their continued support & loyalty. Some of those who have made outstanding contributions in 2017 to the fight for civil rights & justice in Alamance County were honored last night. Awardees included;

Burlington Masjid (Humanitarian Award) 
United Chapel UCC (Religious Affairs Award) 
Closing the Achievement Gap, Inc. (Education Award) 
Dana Courtney (President’s Award) 
Rev. William Barber (Lifetime Achievement Award)

We look forward to another year of moving #forwardtogether.

ANAACP to host free screening of “Democracy for Sale”, Q&A with film’s director and cast members

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Join the Alamance NAACP for our free screening of “Democracy for Sale,” an eye-opening documentary about poverty, income inequality and the influence of big money in NC politics, starring actor Zach Galifianakis and featuring many leaders of the NC Forward Together Moral Movement including Rev. William Barber.

Democracy for Sale – Mark your calendar for June 11th to see the upcoming film screening of Democracy for Sale, starring Zach Galifianakis and made in North Carolina. North Carolina — perhaps more than any other state in the Union — has been transformed by the new and growing tidal wave of political spending. Galifianakis, the comic star of “The Hangover” movies, travels back to his home state to investigate how North Carolina has become a bellwether for how the money of a few has come to dominate our democracy. Galifianakis investigates allegations that the current state government was put in power by moneyed interests and has thus carried out a program that only benefits its backers: cuts to education, healthcare spending, and environmental protection; lowering of taxes for the wealthy and corporations; and the passage of laws designed to roll back access to the ballot. 

Question and Answers with the filmmaker and cast members of Democracy For Sale, directly following the screening with

  • Lucian Read, director and producer

  • Gene Nichol, UNC professor of law, and author of SEEING THE INVISIBLE: Putting a Face on Poverty in North Carolina (2014)

  • Margaret Dickson, former Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly

NAACP Open House just around the corner at Jazz-N-More, at 404 S Spring Street directly following Q&A. Meet, greet, and eat. Cash bar.

WHO:              Alamance NAACP

WHAT:           Democracy for Sale – free film screening, followed by a discussion of the documentary and an ANAACP Open House

WHEN:           Sunday, June 11, 2017 at 3:00 pm (doors open at 2:30 pm)

WHERE:        Paramount Theater,  128 E. Front Street Burlington, NC

CONTACT: Maryanne Shanahan at mshanahan44@gmail.com or 207.837.2827

Find the event page on Facebook HERE.

The Alamance Branch of the NAACP thanks you for supporting these events.

FORWARD TOGETHER! NOT ONE STEP BACK!

Alamance NAACP to Participate in the 11th Annual People’s Legislative Advocacy Day at the NCGA

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The Alamance NAACP to Participate in the 11th Annual People’s Legislative Advocacy Day in Raleigh, to Meet with Senator Gunn and Representatives Ross and Riddell

BURLINGTON, NC – The Alamance NAACP will join with NAACP branches from across the state, Forward Together Moral Movement supporters, and coalition partners on March 21st to participate in the 11th annual People’s Legislative Advocacy Day.

During this legislative session, over 2000 bills have been introduced, many of which are unconstitutional and undermine democracy in our state. They are being introduced and passed by a General Assembly whose members were elected with the help of gerrymandered districts that were found to be unconstitutional by a federal court. These illegitimate lawmakers are engaging in a political coup d’etat, passing laws that take power from the Governor and judicial branch and placing it in the hands of Speaker Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger and other extremists in the Legislature.

The Alamance NAACP will meet with Representative Dennis Riddell at 10:30 am and Senator Rick Gunn, at a time to be scheduled the morning of Advocacy Day. Rep. Stephen Ross has not made himself available. We will meet to discuss the alarming direction that the NC General Assembly is moving in, stand against bills that will hurt North Carolina, and advocate for specific legislation that upholds our policy priorities. Their actions will not be done in the dark.

“In order to make Alamance County and North Carolina better for all of us, we have to hold our elected officials accountable on the state and federal level. On February 27th, we visited the office of our Congressman Mark Walker and now we will be going to Raleigh,” said Barrett Brown, President of the Alamance NAACP. “Now is the time to make your voice heard and we encourage anyone from the community to join us.”

The Alamance NAACP will be carpooling to Raleigh leaving at 7:00 am from 1908 S. Mebane St., Burlington, NC. Community members unaffiliated with the NAACP are welcome to join the carpool. Contact Dana Courtney at d_courtney@bellsouth.net or 3362630720 for more information.

WHO: Alamance Branch of the NAACP

WHAT: 11th annual People’s Legislative Advocacy Day

WHEN: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

WHERE: NC General Assembly, 16 W. Jones St. Raleigh, NC

The ANAACP visits Rep. Mark Walker’s district office to request a public Town Hall and present a letter of demands

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On February 27, 2017, thirty Alamance NAACP members and supporters joined Moral Movement supporters in Greensboro, to visit Congressman Mark Walker’s district office and present him with a letter of demands and a request for a public Town Hall by the end of March.

The Alamance NAACP and our partners, inspired to renewed action by our recent Moral March on Raleigh, traveled together to Greensboro to remind Rep. Walker that he cannot hide from the responsibilities he has to every constituent in North Carolina’s 6th congressional district. If he can go to Washington, DC and vote to deprive the people of his district of the chance to see a doctor; of the chance to escape conditions of poverty and conflict; of voter protections their fore parents died for; of the right to worship without the fear of being targeted and terrorized; of a civil society free of baseless propaganda designed to undermine our democratic institutions; or of the chance to earn the wages that would give their families a decent life, then he can come home and explain these votes to his critics and supporters alike. We traveled to Greensboro to let him know we are going to hold him accountable.

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The visit was one of 15 simultaneous news conferences and letter deliveries held at every US Senator and Congressperson’s office in North Carolina. Our letter included six key demands:

1. Vote against the repeal of the life-saving Affordable Care Act that millions of North Carolinians depend on.
2. Oppose any executive orders or legislation that will deport our immigrant brothers and sisters.
3. Restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act now.
4. Oppose any executive orders or legislation that will ban or attack refugees or Muslims.
5. Publicly renounce the lies about voter fraud and oppose the widespread voter suppression spreading across the country.
6. Support our call for living wages and union rights.

ANAACP Mobilizes Over 150 People to Ride Buses to the 11th HKonJ Moral March, Joined by the ABAE, Alamance Peace Action, Alamance Pride and Elon Groups

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One of three buses of Justice-Loving people from Alamance County to attend the 11th HKonJ Moral March | photo by ANAACP/Adriano A. Tobar

In Raleigh, NC on February 11, 2017, local partners in the Alamance People’s Assembly marched with the Alamance NAACP and ten of thousands of justice-loving people in the 11th Annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) Moral March.

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ANAACP President Barrett Brown (left) and ANAACP Religious Affairs Chair Kendal McBroom (right)

The ANAACP organized three passenger buses and a 12-passenger van, with over 150 people riding to attend this year’s HKonJ Moral March and People’s Assembly.  This was one of our largest mobilizations ever. We are especially proud of the partnerships that we have developed with our fellow community advocates that make this kind of mobilization a success. As envisioned by the NC NAACP, the local HKonJ March mobilization is a community organizing campaign and a public statement of our local coalition’s strength and solidarity.
To build on this organizing effort, the ANAACP is seeking to formalize our community partnerships by initiating and hosting Alamance People’s Assembly meetings, on third Thursdays of the month at 6:00 pm, at Life’s Journey UCC on 2121 Edgewood Ave., Burlington, NC. The Local People’s Assembly structure is meant to mirror the statewide HKonJ People’s Assembly that has been so successful at resisting many of the most immoral and unconstitutional laws of the extremists in the NCGA. Through our local efforts, we seek to have a similar influence on the lawmakers of Alamance County.

We invite community and faith groups to join our deeply moral, deeply constitutional, non-partisan, indigenously-led,  fusion movement, to coordinate, advocate, lobby and demonstrate for:

  • EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW
  • VOTING AND LABOR RIGHTS
  • EDUCATION EQUALITY
  • HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS
  • CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

regardless of a person’s race, class, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or immigration status.

Find much more on the HKonJ People’s Agenda, HERE.

Find new coverage here of our local mobilization, HERE.

Find more on the history of our own local coalition, the Alamance People’s Assembly, HERE.

Read the statements below from our local partners, on why these organizations support and participate in HKonJ and want to work together locally with the Alamance NAACP.
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Alamance-Burlington Association of Educators President Arielle Hogarth | photo by ANAACP/Adriano A. Tobar

Statement from the Featured Speaker on Education at this years HKonJ from the North Carolina Association of Educators,  ANAACP member and Alamance-Burlington Association of Educators President, Arielle Hogarth:

I am proud to have been selected by the North Carolina Association of Educators to speak at the HKonJ Moral March Saturday.  I am a twelve-year social studies teacher at Eastern Alamance High School and proud member of the Alamance NAACP.  Educators have a long history of participation in social movements and progressive reforms; I’m committed to doing my part.  Now is a perfect time for educators to stand up and speak out for the benefit of our nation’s future.  Our students are our future.  If we don’t promote equality, equity, progress, and acceptance now, what kind of nation are we creating for future generations? This is a movement, not a moment, and I’m very grateful to work with such amazing Alamance County leaders and social organizations!  

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Anne Cassebaum (far right) and members of Alamance Peace Action

Statement from ANAACP member and Alamance Peace Action spokesperson, Anne Cassebaum:

Alamance Peace Action marches with the Alamance NAACP because many of the problems we both care about have their roots in Pentagon overspending and our endless foreign wars. Tax money needed for education, Medicaid, and other community needs get diverted to the Pentagon instead. Even military surplus and over-reliance on violent solutions spill over to the police and the tactics that the Black Lives Matter movement protest. We want to end the violence and, as our banner says, “Bring Our War Dollars Home.”

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Elon student organizer, Amy Belfer (left) and ANAACP President Barrett Brown (right)

Statement from ANAACP member and Elon student and organizer, Amy Belfer:

The march is a chance for Elon students to stand up to hate and discrimination.  We want to show solidarity to marginalized groups, and show that love and compassion always wins in the end. There is so often a negative stigma between university students and surrounding community members.  We want to break down that stigma and show that we care about the rights of people of all races, ethnicities, religions, gender identities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, and immigration statuses.  As young people, it is our responsibility to stand up for education reform, voting rights, civil rights, criminal justice reform, the rights of immigrants and refugees, LGBTQIA rights, gender equality, racial equality, and religious equality.  This is our community, our state, our country, and our future.  We will continue to fight for our communities until every person has equal rights and access to equal opportunities.

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Alamance Pride President Ken Smith (second from right)

Statement from ANAACP member and Alamance Pride President, Ken Smith:

Alamance Pride is proud to participate with the NAACP and the thousands who marched today to protest the discriminatory HB2 and other social justice issues. We will continue to take our seat at the table and to be involved. We will not shy away from educating and advocating for the LGBT folks in Alamance County. We are thankful for all the support we receive locally.

With our partners, we will continue to move FORWARD TOGETHER! NOT ONE STEP BACK!