One by one, 51 residents filed into the Chapel Hill office of U.S. Rep. David Price on Monday to present a signed letter asking for a public conversation and support for six priorities.
The visit to was one of 15 NAACP events held at U.S. House and Senate lawmakers’ offices statewide. The groups asked their elected leaders to protect the Affordable Care Act, support voter and worker rights, and oppose discrimination against refugees, immigrants and Muslims, among other issues.
A few citizens in Chapel Hill also voiced support for an independent commission to investigate President Donald Trump’s Russian ties.
“We believe our human and constitutional rights are non-negotiable,” Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP President Anna Richards said before leading the group, which included members of the Northern Orange NAACP and Forward Together Moral Movement supporters, into Price’s office.
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Price, a Democrat serving Orange, Durham and Wake counties, was heading back to the Capitol Monday afternoon and unable to meet the demonstrators. Richards said Price told her earlier in the day that he would look at all six priorities.
The cogressman has planned five public listening sessions and town halls in Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh over the next two weeks. Richards said it will be important to fill those venues with supportive voices.
“The important thing is we need leadership. He has seniority on the (House) Budget Committee, and we need our friends to stand with us and to stand for us, and lead the way,” she said.
Carrboro resident Mariela Hernandez and others spoke about health care, voting rights and immigration. Hernandez, who is a legal immigrant, said others who are not in the country legally are afraid. Their children are asking if ICE is coming to town to arrest them, she said.
“As I stand here, I ask for immigration justice, no wall, and (no) unfair deportations,” Hernandez said.
Diane Robertson, with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, was a student when her teacher told her class about Martin Luther King Jr.’s rally in Washington, D.C. The story inspired her, she said, adding that all are equal in the voting booth.
“From that moment to this, I feel like we’ve been on that moral arc moving toward justice, but we are in a free fall right now when it comes to voting rights,” Robertson said.
List of priorities
▪ Vote against the repeal of “the life-saving Affordable Care Act that millions of North Carolinians depend on”
▪ Oppose any executive orders or legislation “that will deport our immigrant brothers and sisters”
▪ Restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act now
▪ Oppose any executive orders or legislation that will ban or attack refugees or Muslims
▪ Publicly renounce “the lies about voter fraud and oppose the widespread voter suppression spreading across the country”
▪ Support a call for living wages and union rights
Upcoming Town Halls and listening sessions
▪ Knightdale Community Listening Session: 10 a.m. Saturday, March 4, Knightdale Town Hall Building, 950 Steeple Square Court
▪ South Durham Community Listening Session: 2 p.m. Saturday, March 4, The Frontier, 800 Park Offices Drive
▪ Cary Town Hall: 7 p.m. Monday, March 6, Cary Theater, 122 E. Chatham St.
▪ Chapel Hill Town Hall: 1 p.m. Saturday, March 11, East Chapel Hill High School, 500 Weaver Dairy Road
▪ Raleigh Town Hall: 6 p.m. Monday, March 13, Broughton High School, 723 St. Marys St.