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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. The National Association for
the Advancement of Colored People on Friday said it would not
hold its convention in North Carolina and urged other
organizations to boycott the state in protest of laws adopted by
the Republican-led legislature.
The civil rights groups described the move as the first step
in an economic boycott that could be expanded in North Carolina
and replicated in other states that enact laws limiting voting
rights and protections for gay and transgender people.
NAACP leaders asked artists, religious groups, educators and
sports leagues to join the effort.
“If we demonstrate the power of the purse, then we will
demonstrate the power of democracy,” the NAACP’s president and
CEO, Cornell William Brooks, told reporters in Raleigh.
Brooks did not provide a timeline for a wider boycott, but
the organization said an internal task force would explore it.
The NAACP said it was calling for the boycott in response to
North Carolina laws such as House Bill 2, which bars transgender
people from using government-operated bathrooms that match their
gender identity and bans cities from setting a minimum wage
above the state level.
The organization said state lawmakers need to create fair
election districts that do not dilute the black vote and repeal
a new measure seen as weakening the executive powers of newly
elected Democratic Governor Roy Cooper.
“What has happened in North Carolina makes this state one of
the battlegrounds over the soul of America,” said the Rev.
William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP
Conventions, corporations and sports leagues including the
National Basketball Association already relocated events or
halted new jobs planned for North Carolina after lawmakers
passed H.B. 2 last March, costing the state more than $560
million, according to the online magazine Facing South.
So far, however, efforts to repeal the measure have failed.
Senate leader Phil Berger, a Republican, said Cooper should
take a stance against the NAACP’s boycott.
“It’s time for him to show some leadership as North
Carolina’s governor, 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,” Berger said
in a statement.
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