Rev. William Barber (right) – Photo: NAACP.
The NAACP is calling for a national boycott of North Carolina to protest various policies passed by the Republican-dominated General Assembly, including the state’s anti-LGBT law HB 2.
According to the Greensboro-based News & Record, the group stopped short of telling its members not to travel to or spend money in the state, which has typically been a feature of past boycotts. But the NAACP’s national board did approve a resolution encouraging religious conferences, athletic events and musicians to avoid the state.
“Right now in the state of North Carolina, we have children — Dear God, children! — who are being imperiled, who face the prospect of being bullied as a consequence of politicians using them as political pawns while we talk about bathrooms,” Cornell Brooks, the national president of the NAACP, said in a statement.
The resolution says the boycott will remain in effect until gerrymandering is reversed, HB 2 is repealed in its entirety, and other controversial laws passed by the legislature are repealed as well. And it warns other states that follow North Carolina’s path will find themselves the target of economic sanctions or further boycotts.
Following the passage of HB 2 last year, the Tar Heel State lost out on many economic opportunities because major corporations did not want to be associated with policies that seen as targeting the transgender community. Various conferences and sporting events were cancelled, and some businesses pulled the plug on planned expansions or relocations.
Gov. Roy Cooper (D), who campaigned in opposition to many of the GOP policies, including a stringent voter ID law, racially-based gerrymandering of legislative districts, and HB 2, has tried to make North Carolina more palatable to the business community by calling for a repeal of the discriminatory law. But Republican leaders in the legislature have resisted Cooper’s proposals for repeal, unless they can guarantee that local county or city governments will be prohibited from passing laws that would allow transgender people to use public restrooms that match their gender identity, rather than their biological sex.
The Rev. William Barber, head of the NAACP’s North Carolina chapter, proposed a boycott last year following a power grab by Republicans that attempted to limit Cooper’s power after Cooper ousted former Gov. Pat McCrory, who was perceived as one of HB 2’s staunchest defenders.
Republican Senate leader Phil Berger called on Cooper to “condemn William Barber’s attempt to inflict economic harm on our citizens, and work toward a reasonable compromise that keeps men out of women’s bathrooms.”
But Cooper’s spokesman, Ford Porter, pointed a finger back at Republicans as the obstacle to making progress on a repeal of HB 2, accusing them of “holding our economy hostage to this disastrous law.”