Advocates blast NC Republican legislation targeting protesters

In a virtual rally, called the “Protest Jim Crow 2.0 Rally Press Conference”, local organizers, activists, and community leaders called out the harmful anti-protest bill, House Bill 805 and the disparate impact the measure will have on Black and Brown North Carolinians. 

House Bill 805, which cleared the crossover deadline, is an egregious attempt to stifle North Carolinians’ First Amendment freedom to assemble by imposing extremely harsh criminal penalties against peaceful protesters.

  • HB 805 is one of the newest additions to the five anti-protest bills in the state, as Republicans across the country are passing similar bills that would discourage Americans from exercising their constitutional right.
  • If passed, very serious charges can be broadly applied to a number of gray areas, including to those who are simply out in the streets demanding change — many of whom are educators protesting for increased teacher pay, community members protesting against discriminatory laws and parents who want a better future for their children.
  • “For those of you who don’t know, this is what systemic racism looks like. It appears to be neutral, but in practice, it will punish Black and Brown people who push back against the status quo,” stated Dawn Blagrove, Executive Director of Emancipate NC at the press conference.

Throughout our history, protests have been an effective and peaceful way to move our country forward. Protests have ended Jim Crow segregation, given women the right to vote, legalized gay marriage, ended wars and have pressured leaders to pass civil rights legislation.

House Bill 805 goes against the very core of the First Amendment, the values of this country and attacks the progress we have made toward civil rights for all.

Simply put, NC Republicans are once again attempting to silence the voices of millions of North Carolinians and specifically, Black and Brown communities who are fighting for racial justice and equality. 

Bottom Line: Protest, freedom of speech, and the right to peacefully assemble are not only our constitutional right — it is our sacred right. Yet, through the passage of House Bill 805, it’s clear that our legislators have forgotten that. 

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Alanna Joyner

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