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NAACP begins voting rights radio campaign

The North Carolina NAACP State Conference has begun airing a new radio ad across the state urging people who think they have difficulty voting to call a toll-free hotline number of 855-664-3487.

In the ad, the Rev. William Barber, the state NAACP president, said the new voting laws passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. McCrory are among "the most restrictive voting measures in the country.''

"The law will make it harder for seniors, students and people of color to vote and their ballots counted.''

The ad is being paid for by the Advancement Project, a civil rights nonprofit.

Moral Mondays begin dispersing throughout state

Now that the Legislature is out of session and a final "Moral Monday" protest drew a record number of participants this week, organizers plan to spread the even to local communities.

On Aug. 5, a coalition of advocacy groups -- representing environmental, voting rights, health, the elderly, labor, religion and poverty interests -- plan to gather in a downtown Asheville park to keep the party going.

A familiar face at the Raleigh protests, Rev. William Barber II, president of the NAACP state chapter, will speak.

Of the people arrested in the protests in Raleigh, a sizable number were reportedly from Western North Carolina.

Youth speakers join NAACP, call voter ID a return to racist policy

Young speakers from the Forward Together movement joined Rev. William Barber II in admonishing Republican leadership for moving forward with restrictive election legislation in a Wednesday NAACP press conference.

Barber also compared House Bill 589, which the Senate will take up Wednesday afternoon, to historical efforts to curtail black voting rights in North Carolina. Barber, students, young adults and advocates raised their voices in anger at provisions that would stop pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, institute strict voter ID policies and allow bigger donations to election candidates.

”The only requirement to access that right (to vote) is that you be 18, and be born or naturalized in this country,” said William Barber III, the vice president of the N.C. NAACP Youth and College division. “That wasn’t always the case. Now that we have it, we will not give it up without a fight.”

Parody Twitter account puts McCrory in the middle of the action

It was bound to happen.

Someone started a parody Twitter account that plays off Gov. Pat McCrory's claim that he has mingled with protestors in Raleigh.

Patwasthere is a gathering place for photoshopped images that put McCrory - Zelig-like - in interesting spots.

Not only does one image put McCrory in the Legislative Building next to Rev. William Barber of the NAACP during a "Moral Monday" protest, others have McCrory on the balcony with Prince William and Kate after their wedding, and standing in front of Clint Eastwood during last year's Republican National Convention while Eastwood addresses the empty chair.

Next 'Moral Monday' protest will focus on numbers

Next week's "Moral Mondays" protest by the NAACP will be about numbers, Rev. William Barber Jr. said Thursday. Each protest has focused on a theme.

Monday's theme will be about the number of people that the organization says have been harmed by Republican legislators' economic actions, including ending some Medicaid funding and unemployment benefits. It will also be about the cost to the state for those policies.

A third theme will be about looking ahead to winding down the weekly protests after the General Assembly leaves town, expected to be sometime this month, and shifting the movement back home to mobilize across the state, Barber said.

Moral Monday protest centers on unemployment cuts

Thousands of people tramped across a muddy Halifax Mall Monday to take part in the ninth Moral Monday protest.

“Seventy-thousand,” the Rev. William Barber shouted. Attendees echoed his words. He shouted the number again and again, focusing in on the significance of Monday, July 1: The date the cuts to the state’s unemployment benefits went into effect.

“Can you hear the cries of the children whose parents cannot afford to pay their mortgages?” asked one speaker at the event, Javan Richardson of Rocky Mount, a rising ninth grader at Nash Community Early College. He came to Raleigh for his first protest Monday.

NAACP field director, 2 others cited at State Capitol

Second update: State Capitol Police report the following people were charged with second-degree trespassing after refusing to leave the Capitol building for nearly two hours after it closed Wednesday: Robert Thompson Stephens, 26, of Chapel Hill; Joshua Rahim Vincent, 23, of Raleigh; and Hudson Laney Vaughan, 27, of Carrboro. Each was issued summons to appear in court and released on their own recognizance.

The three were cited during a protest at the State Capitol on Wednesday evening. They include NAACP state field secretary Stephens. The trio made it clear they expected to be taken into custody, locking arms, singing spirituals and refusing to leave the building after it closed.

It was the culmination of an hour-long event organized by the NAACP in which about 30 young people went to the Capitol to present the governor with a list of pledges they want him to sign.

Eight arrested in General Assembly protest

Eight protesters were arrested when they refused to leave the Legislative Building on Wednesday, as part of a larger demonstration by the NAACP.

One of the arrested was Durham City Councilman Steve Schewel.

The eight were arrested as they and supporters loudly sang spirituals outside the chamber where the state House of Representatives was debating the budget. House Speaker Thom Tillis had the doors to the chamber locked for the duration of the protest.

The supporters filled the third-floor rotunda and looked down at the group on the second floor that chose to be taken into custody.

The arrests followed a rally outside the statehouse led by the NAACP’s Rev. William Barber, who led a crowd of about 100 into the building.

Barber said seven of those who volunteered for arrest symbolize the deaths of key figures in the civil rights movement, including Medgar Evers, the NAACP activist who was murdered 50 years ago Wednesday. The eighth person was guiding a man in a wheelchair who was arrested. Two of the eight protesters were confined to wheelchairs.

The NAACP dubbed the event “Witness Wednesday,” following several weeks of “Moral Mondays,” which have drawn thousands of protesters and resulted in more than 350 arrests.

More clergy lend support to "Moral Mondays"

The protest at the General Assembly on Monday, which will be led by clergy from around the state, brings together a cross-section of Christians, including Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Methodists.

Their involvement marks a noteworthy turning point in the weekly protests, which have led to the arrests of more than 300 people over five weeks. While the organizers of the “Moral Mondays” movement have been partisan, the clergy make a point of saying their interest isn’t political.

“Rather it is a matter of faith with respect to our understanding of the biblical teachings and imperatives to protect the poor, respect the stranger, care for widows and children and love our neighbors,” according to the statement, which was provided to Dome over the weekend.

Morning Memo: First Lady ventues into policy, TABOR bill gets a hearing

FIRST LADY BACKS BILL TO REGULATE PUPPY MILLS: Venturing into public policy for the first time as First Lady, Ann McCrory issued an open letter to lawmakers supporting House Bill 930 to establish standards for dog breeders. The bill is a weakened version of the original legislation which sought to crack down on puppy mills. "| am writing to thank you for your unanimous support of l-louse Bill 930. Passing legislation to establish basic standards of care for large commercial dog breeding facilities is a very important issue to me, and to people across our state," Ann McCrory wrote in the letter. "| especially wish to Representatives Saine, McGrady and Brown for their leadership on this issue. l hope you and other members of the General Assembly will continue to advocate for this bill, and other legislation establishing higher standards for Commercial breeders. These policies increase our quality of life in North Carolina and ensure better care for dogs across the state. You have my full support."

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: A House committee will consider a Taxpayer Bill of Rights measure, known as TABOR, that would restrict state spending. Its hugely controversial and produced varied results. Other legislative committees will consider trimming environmental regulations and altering rules governing midwifery. On the Senate floor, lawmakers will hear a bill to prevent undercover whistleblower operations at farms and processing plants. And in the House, a bill about cancer drugs that split Republicans faces another vote, as does the LEED certification bill. Gov. Pat McCrory lists no public events.

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- more North Carolina political news below. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com.***

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