Durham News

NAACP calls for Burr, Tillis to back Lynch for attorney general

The N.C. NAACP called on the state’s U.S. senators Friday to drop their opposition to North Carolina native Loretta Lynch’s becoming U.S. attorney general.

“We are quite concerned and disturbed,” Michelle Laws, the state NAACP’s executive director, said during a news conference at the organization’s Durham headquarters.

“In plain talk,” Laws said, “we come here to simply ask Senators (Richard) Burr and (Thom) Tillis, ‘What’s the problem?’”

The state NAACP is organizing a women’s delegation to go to Washington next week, she said.

“We will go to Sen. Tillis’ office as well as Sen. Burr’s office to make sure, just in case they did not get the message, that we expect them to vote to confirm Loretta Lynch,” Laws said.

Burr and Tillis’ opposition centers on Lynch’s support for a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit against North Carolina over its new voter ID law. Tillis has also questioned her ability to manage the 100,000-employee department.

Tillis voted against Lynch after the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on her appointment, but Lynch received the committee’s endorsement 12 to 8, and her confirmation by the full Senate is expected.

Burr and Tillis are both Republican, and Laws pointed out that Republican Judiciary Committee members Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Jeff Flake of Arizona voted in Lynch’s favor.

Lynch is a native of Greensboro and grew up in Durham, where her parents, Lorenzo and Lorine Lynch, still live. Lynch graduated from Harvard University and its law school and is currently U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Speakers at Friday’s news conference described Lynch as well-qualified for the attorney general’s job.

“She is not a respecter of power, privilege and position,” said Stella Adams, a member of the state Democratic Party executive committee who knew Lynch growing up in Durham.

Lynch has proven herself in New York, Adams said, “where she fought against mobsters, where she fought and won against terrorists, where she fought against corruption, where she fought against those who would deny us our civil rights.”

Lavonia Allison, former chairwoman of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, said Lynch was valedictorian of her class at Durham High School.

“It is a real shame,” Allison said. “A young lady who has been at the top of every academic endeavor she’s been in.”

Several of those who spoke likened Lynch’s opponents to those who blocked voting-rights marchers in Selma, Ala., in 1965.

“I grew up in the segregated South, and I know the chorus of hate,” said Lorenzo Lynch, her father and a retired pastor at White Rock Baptist Church in Durham. “And I heard it from a few mouths on that Committee on the Judiciary the other day.”

The elder Lynch said his daughter is in Selma for a commemoration, “and that’s her hope that the nation has come to a higher position than it was when her father grew up.”

Wise: 919-641-5895

Off to see the senators

The N.C. NAACP plans to send a delegation to Washington, D.C., next week to call on Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis to drop their opposition to Loretta Lynch’s confirmation as U.S. attorney general.

Michelle Laws, the state NAACP’s executive director, said the group will leave Tuesday or Wednesday. Anyone interested in joining the delegation may call the NAACP state office at 919-682-4700. The organization is also sponsoring a “Call Campaign” asking citizens to call Burr’s and Tillis’ offices in support of Lynch. See http://nando.com/lynch.