Letter: Join NC People’s Power to spark change

Graphic by Lori Deaton

In the 1976 film Network, a satire on TV news by Paddy Chayefsky, considered one of the greatest screenplays of all time, unhinged network news anchor Howard Beale opens his broadcast by outlining the hot-button issues of the day — unemployment, crime, inflation, the Russians, etc. — and exhorts his viewers to go to their windows, stick their heads out and shout, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.” In viewing this scene [avl.mx/csk] almost 50 years later, I was shocked at how many of these issues are still affecting our lives today.

On July 1, a new coalition called NC People’s Power is organizing Days of Outrage in 13 cities across North Carolina to speak out against the attacks on “our bodies, our schools, our health, our environment, our rights, our communities, our income, our jobs, our democracy.” Endorsed by 91 organizations, with more being added each day, the coalition is putting forth a people’s agenda that will seek the following:

• Fully fund public schools, early education and child care, not private-school vouchers.
• Defend Black history and people’s history.
• Protect our communities with sensible gun safety laws.
• Safe staffing in state mental health and medical facilities.
• Support improved Medicare for all. No to Blue Cross Blue Shield price hikes.
• Defend the right to abortion and reproductive health care. Increase rural access to prenatal and postnatal health care.
• Stop criminalization of LGBTQ+ people. Support gender-affirming care.
• Defend voting rights. No gerrymandering.
• Stop criminalizing the right to protest.
• Stop taking historic appointments from the governor’s office.
• Raise the minimum wage to at least $15 per hour.
• Raise the wages of teachers and state employees to $20 per hour or by 20% over two years.
• Make millionaires and corporations pay taxes to support vital public services.
• Support the right to organize a union and public-sector collective bargaining. Fully fund Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Paid sick leave, paid family and parental leave.
• Provide low-income housing, direct rent and mortgage relief. Moratorium on evictions, foreclosures and utility cutoffs.
• Support minority- and women-owned businesses.
• Stop attacks on Black, brown and Indigenous people. Reparations now.
• Protect immigrant workers and families. No working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
• Stop construction of prisons and detention centers.
• Expand criminal record relief and resources for people released from incarceration.
• Protect clean water, air and land.
• Hold Big Agriculture, Duke Energy and all corporations accountable for environmental pollution. Expand renewable energy.

On July 1, we are organizing a speakout. We’ll assemble at the Pack Square monument at 5 p.m. We’ll deliver a few prepared speeches. However, we really want to hear from you. What makes you mad as hell?

After this, we plan to organize people’s assemblies across the state, where citizens will refine the people’s agenda for each community and learn how to advocate with elected officials.

It is often said that the only way to beat the power and influence of corporate and billionaire money over elected officials is through people power. Currently, we are siloed, with organizations and their supporters advocating for their single issue. If we band together and organize across issues, where environmentalists advocate for health care and racial justice activists advocate for housing, etc., there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

Please join us on July 1. If you represent an organization that wishes to endorse this action, go to this website and sign up [avl.mx/csl].

— Lauren Steiner

Editors note: The writer reports being an activist, organizer and independent journalist who moved to the Asheville area in 2021.


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One thought on “Letter: Join NC People’s Power to spark change

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    What makes many people ‘mad’ is how the elected and appointed democrats have tried to take over America by selling out the country. HOW do these democrats ever get to BE SO CORRUPT and CRIMINAL ??? Do they have any bounds of their own EVIL ?

    people mad about the homeless and vagrant INVASION fed by drugs and no policing.

    people mad about BLM never being brought to JUSTICE after 574 deadly riots in 2020 and them fleecing over $90 million $$$ from pathetically stupid people nationwide!

    people mad about the Asheville City Council and Mayor who refuse to be leaders. people mad all over…

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