RALEIGH, N.C. — President of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, Rev. William Barber, is calling for a boycott of the state after a repeal of House Bill 2 (HB2) failed last week in a special session. Gov.-elect Roy Cooper doesn’t support a national boycott, saying in a press release that he wants companies and individuals to come to North Carolina to “join us in the fight for fairness.”
“I share the frustrations people have with the Republican legislative leadership because their policies hurt working North Carolinians, but I disagree with an economic boycott. I want people and companies to come to North Carolina and join us in the fight for fairness,” Cooper said.
“Enough is enough,” said Rev. Barber in a press conference last week.
“We are going to fight them in the courts. We are going to fight them in the streets. We’re going to fight them at the ballot box, and now we’re going to ask permission to fight them with money at the cash register,” he said. “If we don’t stop them here, it has the potential to spread across the nation.”
“We as the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP will meet and complete a formal proposal endorsed by the state executive committee to put before the national board that asks approval of and calls for an economic boycott of the state,” Barber writes in an article published by The Huffington Post on Thursday, titled “A Call For The Economic Boycott of North Carolina.
Barber’s article makes clear that HB2 is but one issue among many that the NC NAACP see as a threat to democracy in the state.
“GOP legislators have not only undertaken efforts to suppress the will of the voters, they have seized power from a newly-elected Democratic governor in a special Christmas session; stripped power from the state Supreme Court to which a second African American has been newly elected; and passed draconian laws that harm the poor and working people of the state. This unprecedented scheme to enact major changes in the structure and functioning of government without the consent of the people should alarm the entire nation,” he writes.
In a joint press release, both Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign and Chris Sgro of Equality North Carolina said the state “remains closed for business.”
Boycotts over the discriminatory law, which requires transgender individuals to use the bathrooms and locker rooms matching the gender on their birth certificate in government-owned buildings and invalidated non-discrimination ordinances passed in cities and municipalities, have already cost the state millions of dollars, as well as hundreds of jobs.
The NBA and NCAA both, upon news of the repeal effort’s failure, confirmed their respective boycotts will continue. The 2017 NBA All-Star Game was moved from Charlotte to New Orleans. While there were hopes to bring the game back in 2019, that remains in question.
Cooper attempted to negotiate the compromise whereby the Charlotte City Council would repeal their already nullified non-discrimination ordinance, which offered protections to the LGBTQ community, in order to get the repeal of HB2.
Cooper said in a press conference that the “legislature had the chance to do the right thing for North Carolina and they failed.”
“I am disappointed that Republican legislative leaders failed to live up to their promise to fully repeal House Bill 2,” he added. He claimed there were enough votes to repeal, but that legislative leaders broke their promise. Democrats were upset by the Republican Senate repeal bill including a moratorium on new ordinances, which Cooper also opposed.
“We note that economic boycotts were successfully deployed in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and that the United States engages in economic sanctions when countries around the world engage in undemocratic actions,” Barber writes in his Huffington Post piece.
“Following the successful boycotts of South Carolina over its refusal to retire the Confederate flag and over Arizona’s unjust targeting of immigrants and their families, this economic boycott will send a message to the state that governments that violate the rights of their citizens must pay a high price for their abuses.”