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.”
Recent New York University graduate Bree Newsome said before she went to Moral Monday this week she had focused her energy on the national Republican Party, criticizing its extremity. But on Monday she found herself joining the Forward Together movement. She found a similar extremism in her own state’s leadership, and was motivated to argue publicly against Republicans’ reasons for pushing the bill.
“Voter fraud is not what shakes our confidence in government,” she said. “This is.”
Barber offered a “history lesson,” warning that this session’s policies are repeating mistakes of the past. “The only difference is it’s got a twenty-first-century twist to it. It’s shrewder, it’s not as overt, they don’t use the N-word.”