Under the Dome

NAACP to devise economic boycott of NC by creating task force

William J. Barber, the North Carolina NAACP president, speaks to a crowd in front of the NC General Assembly on Friday about the group’s economic boycott of North Carolina.
William J. Barber, the North Carolina NAACP president, speaks to a crowd in front of the NC General Assembly on Friday about the group’s economic boycott of North Carolina. ccioffi@newsobserver.com

A national NAACP official vowed Friday that the group would work with North Carolina’s chapter to create a joint task force responsible for designing an economic boycott of North Carolina.

Cornell W. Brooks, the NAACP president, spoke to a crowd in front of the N.C. General Assembly to say the group will take the next few months to decide how the boycott will be carried out. Brooks was joined by William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP.

Barber announced in December, after legislators in special session passed laws taking power from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, that he would seek a national boycott. The boycott would remain in effect until the legislation passed in the special sessions are repealed and the group’s other demands are met, Barber said.

In addition to restoration of powers that were taken from the governor, the NAACP is demanding that fair election districts be drawn and House Bill 2 be repealed, Barber said. HB2 overrides local nondiscrimination protections and local laws on minimum wages and employment. The law also requires transgender people in government facilities to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate.

“Any attempt to suppress our votes, to take away our civil rights, will be met with unrelenting resistance,” Brooks said.

Brooks said that the boycott has already begun because business leaders have chosen to locate in other states and sports associations like the NBA have taken events elsewhere over HB2. He also said the NAACP chose not to have its convention in North Carolina after HB2 was passed.

“We take this matter of a boycott seriously, very seriously,” he said. “And so we begin first by withdrawing economic support.”

Republican Senate leader Phil Berger issued a statement Friday saying that Cooper should work to compromise on HB2 and that he should publicly criticize Barber’s call for a boycott.

“For months, Roy Cooper has played lip service to wanting to repeal HB2, all while pandering to his far-left base to raise a beaucoup of cash, trash talking his own state and sabotaging every effort to repeal it,” Berger said. “It’s time for him to show some leadership as North Carolina’s governor.”

Barber said he did not like a bill to repeal HB2 and make other changes that was filed Wednesday in an attempt at compromise. He said the best compromise would be a clean repeal of the law.

The NAACP officials didn’t lay out specific plans Friday for the boycott, but said the task force will meet over the next several months and then report back to the national committee in May.

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