Rev. William Barber outlines voter empowerment campaign

Rev. Dr. William Barber, head of the North Carolina NAACP, shares details about a joint NAACP/Democracy NC voter education and empowerment campaign in Asheville on Wednesday. Photo by Virginia Daffron

On Wednesday, Jan. 6, Rev. Dr. William Barber outlined a joint campaign launched by the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Democracy NC to empower voters through supporting access to voting and providing education on key issues.

Surrounded by supporters in The Block off biltmore, a coffee house and event space at the YMI Cultural Center, Barber announced the “It’s Our Time — It’s Our Vote” campaign.

Barber, Moral Monday leader and head of the state NAACP, said a coalition of over 3,000 faith- and membership-based communities will implement the issues-based campaign to empower, educate and protect voters.

“Others have had their time over past few years to vote on regressive policies. It’s our time now,” Barber commented. “In North Carolina, we have been fighting the worst voter suppression law in the country.” In partnership with other organizations, the NAACP has challenged new voting laws passed in 2013, including voter identification requirements, the elimination of same-day voter registration and the elimination of out-of-precinct voting. Barber asked attendees to spread the word about a July 2015 change in the North Carolina General Assembly statute which allows voting without ID in the case of a “reasonable impediment” to obtaining identification.

“Go and vote,” urged Barber. “The law has not been fully adjudicated. They had to water it down because they knew what they had passed was totally unconstitutional. That came from our efforts and those of our partners.”

Initiatives planned for the campaign include a voter registration campaign from Dec. 1 to Feb. 19, a Mountain Moral Monday event in Asheville on Jan. 25, a statewide rally in Raleigh on Feb. 13, a voter guide detailing statewide candidates’ stands on issues of concern to NAACP and its partners and a Freedom Summer II statewide youth initiative. Barber said the coalition will be conducting get-out-the-vote efforts in 90 North Carolina counties, with intensive efforts planned for 55 counties. The campaign will organize moral marches to the polls during early voting and on election day. “We intend to have a thorough, organized effort throughout the state,” explained Barber.

Barber stressed the importance of the issues the election will impact. In addition to state and local offices, Barber said “Health care is on the ballot. Public education is on the ballot. Living wages are on the ballot. Black Lives Matter is on the ballot. If you care about that issue, remember that sheriffs, judges and district attorneys are elected. Chiefs of police are appointed by elected officials. You can’t even sit on a jury unless you are registered to vote.”

Barber focused particular attention on North Carolina’s failure to expand Medicaid eligibility: “Legislators from this county voted against Medicaid expansion. That affects 8,400 people in this county. They would have health care today but do not have it because legislators chose to vote against them. Those are the stories that we will be telling.”

“We want people to get out and vote, we want them to look at the issues, we want them to understand that voting has consequences and that we’re building an infrastructure not just for 2016 but beyond as well. We have to understand that the fear-mongering, racist rhetoric that we’ve seen is an affront to our democracy and to our deepest moral values. We must take our moral consciousness into the streets and into the ballot box,” Barber concluded.





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About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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21 thoughts on “Rev. William Barber outlines voter empowerment campaign

  1. Yep

    Why is the NC democrat party is not running this man, with the MOST name recognition in NC, for US Senate 2016 ??

    He would be their DREAM candidate! And he definitely has the resume on how to fleece the system …

    • ApePeeD

      This guy wouldn’t win. He’d run on a platform of “Black”, as is already evidenced here. Barack Obama won because he did NOT run on a platform of “Black”.

      • Lulz

        LOL, wrong. Obama won because the left convinced many with lofty dreams that voting in a black guy was progress lulz. Problem was that the man wasn’t vetted, his questionable relationships with some really radical people wasn’t brought up, and his voting record and time in the senate were not discussed. The media gave him a free pass because he is black. And his past was swept under the rug. And in an America where most are morons, they packaged him just for the thinking ability of just such an audience LOL.

        • mynameis

          “questionable relationships with some really radical people”. That’s lol just hilarious lol. Especially lol given the lol Republican lol field lulz.

          “The media gave him a free pass because he’s black.” Didn’t lol stop the lol racists lol.

    • How would a party draft him against his will? Besides, he is a theocrat with school authoritarian tendencies who might not be prochoice. He’s right about voter turnout but his priorities have many other problems.

  2. James

    This fake reverend is noting more than a wanna-be Al Sharpton. Funny how the so-called progressives never find fault with a Democrap minister involved in (radical leftist) politics but scream SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!!! whenever a Catholic priest or Evangelical minister speaks up against abortion or sodomite “marriage”.

    • Lamont Cranston

      Keeping it classy, I see. Try cutting down on the hateful rhetoric and caffeine for a while – You’ll be the better for it.

      • Yep

        Do you KNOW how many MILLION$, the ‘Rev’ Barber has FLEECED from the NC taxpayers to fund HIS own ‘non-profits’ ?

        NO because the MEDIA will not tell you! Don’t remain ignorant.

    • Many progressives are very aware of Barbers problems with theocracy, funding school authoritarianism, and questionable lipservice to being prochoice.

  3. boatrocker

    How dare those ‘ the blacks’ try to represent their voting rights as guaranteed by that amendment which isn’t the 2nd Amendment?
    Poll taxes, literacy tests, KKK domestic terrorism, Jim Crow laws, Don Yelton’s comments, those laws were put into effect for a good reason. Next thing you know, they’ll call for a living wage, a colorblind hiring policy and an end to an end to the almighty dollar vs. actual human rights! What’s wrong with this country?

    Why can’t those pesky minorities just keep their heads down for living in this city?

    • Don’t forget the racist zoning now perpetuated by Asheville liberals. but on voting rights, and especially voting in the municipal interests of tenants against “property values” boatrocker and Barber are right on the single voting issue.

    • Yep

      what did Art Pope say about it? I haven’t heard it but hope it was profound!

  4. Barber is right on municipal voter turnout and chiefs of police and juries, but his top priority was funding authoritarian schools that teach propaganda, so I remain very wary of him and his agenda, and his potential for theocratic authoritarianism. Barber claims to be prochoice but I’m not so sure he is.

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