Asheville-Buncombe County NAACP News – July 2018
by Carmen Ramos-Kennedy –
The U.S. Attorney’s failure to charge former Asheville Police Officer Chris Hickman with violating Johnnie Rush’s civil rights is a shameful decision, but not a surprise; Donald Trump leads a heartless, immoral, and thinly veiled corrupt administration!
Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is making every effort to turn the clock back on civil rights. They have doubled down in every failed area of criminal justice: pushed mandatory minimum sentences for low-level and non-violent drug offenses, reversed policies to prevent people from being incarcerated simply because they are poor, and oppose sentencing reforms that would reserve the harshest punishments for the most dangerous criminals. Their zero-tolerance family-separation policy and treatment of asylum-seekers at the border violates fundamental human rights, as well as U.S. law.
Through this lens it’s easy to see why yet another beating of a person of color matters little to DOJ, and thus is not a reason to pursue justice for Johnnie Rush. The NAACP believes Rush’s attorney will prevail in settling with Asheville and that Christopher Hickman will answer to the state of NC for his criminal acts against Rush.
45’s upending of the Affordable Care Act is coming at the expense of millions. It will mean two markets: one for healthy young people that generally don’t need much in the way of healthcare, and a more expensive market for older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions. Unable to repeal ACA, his administration has made several decisions that in essence dismantle it.
All those on POTUS’s current list of potential Supreme Court justices to replace Anthony Kennedy are extremely conservative in their views. Anyone on the list is likely to vote yes on striking down Roe v. Wade. With his pick almost guaranteed to be confirmed by the Republican Senate, and then ensconced in the Supreme Court chambers, we may face the final blow to the Voting Rights Act.
This month the Supreme Court upheld Ohio’s practice of purging voters from the rolls. It upheld Texas’s redistricting plan that lower courts found discriminatory against voters of color. It upheld Trump’s ban on immigrants traveling to the U.S. from predominantly Muslim countries. And it struck a major blow to public sector unions by jeopardizing their financing. All of these rulings will have the unacceptable effect of weakening our communities and families. They are part of a larger political climate filled with racism and discrimination and intended to silence the voices of those resisting this administration.
At the June 19th meeting of City Council all members voted in support of a resolution that addressed written consent-to-search, de-prioritizing regulatory stops and avoidance of consent searches based solely on nervousness or prior record. The language for the written consent policy is yet to be developed. Stay tuned in.
Voter ID is back.
Voters will be asked this fall if a photo ID requirement for in-person voting should be permanently codified in the NC Constitution. This change would bring back photo ID requirements implemented in the 2013 elections that were struck down by a panel of federal judges in 2016. The judges ruled that the law had targeted African American voters with “almost surgical precision.” It was a racist law then and is a racist attempt now that will directly affect people of color as well as seniors and students.
Isn’t the goal of a free and democratic society to avoid any and all barriers to voting? This is another outrageous attempt at pushing the false narrative that there is rampant fraud in our elections. Once in the Constitution, this law will impede hundreds of thousands registered voters’ access to the ballot box. The current majority in the legislature has no shame, and their power grab has no limit. This is one of the many steps in their preparation for 2020!
Dear reader, this is one of the most troubling and critical periods in recent history. Now is the time to get involved. You need to be registered to vote at your current address in preparation for this fall’s elections. Be sure your ID is up-to-date and matches your registration—especially if you’re a woman who has married, divorced, or changed your name. The names must match, so get up-to-date documents from the Register of Deeds! We ALSO need you to register voters, talk about the issues, and to take lots of people to the polls.
Asheville Buncombe County NAACP is non-partisan. However we do not shy away from the issues and have every right to inform you of them. To volunteer, please contact us at 4ward2getherCall2Action@gmail.com.
The Asheville-Buncombe NAACP, Branch #5363, meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in the Sanctuary of Hill Street Baptist Church, 135 Hill Street in Asheville. For information: 4ward2getherCall2Action@gmail.com; Buncombe County NAACP, PO Box 2881, Asheville, NC 28802; facebook.com/buncombecountynaacp.