On Monday the NC GOP joined the Arizona GOP in introducing a bill, SB 100, to punish voters that elect officials who choose to allocate funding to community safety programs from their existing police budgets. (In AZ, it's HB 2310.) The similarity of these bills indicates a level of coordination between right-wing legislators across the country, in states where a growing population of voters of color have elected new leaders and galvanized new policies.
These same Republican state senators also introduced SB 101, which would require sheriffs to collaborate in making ICE detentions, effectively forcing them to ask anyone booked into jail to "show me your papers," and turning jail deputies in all 100 counties into de facto ICE agents.
These bills are a clear statement of the NC GOP's priorities during this pandemic: Punish Black & Latinxs voters and organizers who have won victories across the state over the last two years, from policies limiting sheriff-ICE collaboration to reallocations of local tax dollars towards nonpunitive programs that will create community safety.
Black organizers galvanized over 15 million people (NYT) to march, move and take action last summer. Black and Brown voters then made it possible to have a new administration in the White House and a change in Senate leadership. Since then, organizations like ours have helped shape the incoming Biden Administration's priorities.
Now the NC GOP is wasting time trying to 'get even' with voters across the state, rather than address the eviction crisis or the many life-threatening pandemic disparities. Black people are underrepresented in the vaccine rollout in at least 77 counties, and Latinxs in 93 counties (Charlotte Observer). Prisoners are being denied vaccines. Employers are still not required to offer basic protections to essential workers.
Rather than do anything about that, NC Republicans are trying to 'settle the score' with our communities. But the truth is, they're losing. The NC GOP doesn't appear to remember that we defeated HB 370 in 2019, just like their right-wing state legislator friends in Arizona apparently didn't learn from their historic defeats in 2020.
Standing with organizations across the state, we're going to defeat SB 100 and SB 101, and any other attempts at criminalizing, targeting or intimidating Black and Brown North Carolinians, whether those come from copycat bills, more pendejadas from Sheriff Terry Johnson -- who this week quietly asked the Alamance County Commission to expand the jail's ICE contract -- or employers and landlords trying to take advantage of our people. That's our compromiso.
En la lucha,
Siembra NC Incoming Executive Director