Despite some economic gains the state has made since he took office as North Carolina’s governor in 2013, Pat McCrory isn’t a popular guy with those on the left. In conjunction with McCrory’s planned Governor’s Western Residence open house on Saturday, May 14, a broad spectrum of social and environmental advocacy groups plan to protest legislation McCrory has signed.
Organizer Holly Roach of Showing Up for Racial Justice says legislation supported by McCrory “has been terrible, just terrible.” And, she adds, “it affects all parts of society.” The left has recently displayed growing anger at McCrory over House Bill 2, a controversial law that requires that people use bathrooms marked for the sex listed on their birth certificates and changes discrimination protections in North Carolina.
On the other side of the issue, a group of McCrory supporters announced they will hold a prayer chain as a show of solidarity at the Governor’s Western Residence during the open house. Their action, the Governor’s supporters wrote in an email, will be in contrast to “an antagonistic protest… that includes estimates of 1,000 participants, toilet paper rolling at the residence, vulgarity actions, and other ‘creative’ initiatives to make their claim that free-range potty access is a social justice issue.”
Roach, meanwhile, maintains that her group’s protest will be a completely nonviolent and appropriate outcry for justice.
The protest coalition will include groups dedicated to the rights of racial minorities, immigrants, the LGBTQ community and economic opportunity. The action is the local manifestation of a national weekend of action dubbed Love is Unstoppable. According to a press release, the groups will gather early Saturday morning at Memorial Stadium and then line the street to stand in remembrance of recently deceased civil rights leader Issac Coleman.
The social justice coalition will then meet up with a regiment of environmentalist groups performing a protest theatre piece criticizing McCrory’s close relationship with Duke Energy. After that, participants will shuttle up Town Mountain to the beautiful property overlooking Asheville that the Governor may call home when he or she visits the western part of the state.
It appears likely that the protest group and the supporter group will be at the open house at the same time, meaning the affair could shape up to provide a spectacle of opposing political forces and views. If that happens, it would be in strong contrast to last year’s open house, a quiet and sparsely attended occasion with intermittent rain and minimal visible security.
Full press release from BeLoved Asheville and Black Lives Matter:
During the Governor’s visit to our People’s Western Residence, hundreds of committed community members will come together Saturday for a peaceful demonstration witnessing to the power of love over hate.
We refuse to join a political agenda founded on hate and oppression. White supremacy and racism are not a partisan issue. Neither are transphobia and discrimination. Using fear to divide people who have every reason to stand together is an age old way of keeping people divided. We will deliver a message that we won’t tolerate hate in our state! We want to make sure that love is at the center of our state and national politics, both in word and policy.
Our Governor has announced an open house, but we want an open state–a state open to inclusive spaces, a state open to living wages, a state open to all people without discrimination.
“The diversity of the coalition that’s come together for Love Unstoppable is a testimony that HB2 and other legislation from this administration is affecting all arenas of public life,” Holly Roach, organizer with SURJ Asheville.
We will gather at 8:30 a.m. at Memorial Stadium, march from the stadium up South Charlotte St. to College. We will line the sidewalk and have a moment to honor the memory and pledge to carry the legacy of Isaac Coleman, a long time giant for social justice in our community. We will make our way across the street for the Toxic Marriage ceremony of Duke Energy and Gov. McCrory recently performed at the Duke shareholders meeting in Charlotte. Then we will proceed to the People’s Western Residence to bring our concerns to the Governor through conversation in a peaceful way.
We will also continue to witness to the power of love on Sunday May 15, beginning with a noon march to the Federal Building from BeLoved, 39 Grove Street, Asheville. We will challenge the hate speech and racism running rampant in this election cycle and call on our local leaders to stand for love by changing the State of Black Asheville, committing to keeping families together and safe from fear.
Love Unstoppable Asheville has been organized by community groups working in solidarity including the Asheville Buncombe County Branch of the NAACP, Tranzmission, BeLoved Asheville, Black Lives Matter, SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) Asheville, Nuestro Centro, Just Economics, CIMA and other concerned residents.
Love Is Unstoppable is part of a national campaign with Showing Up for Racial Justice taking place this weekend.