Social Justice update

The Short Session Re-convenes

      We can’t be sure what will happen with COVID-19, but it surely will influence a number of factors for the upcoming election. There is concern it will affect voter safety and access as well as voters having accurate information. Check out opportunity #1 listed below for ways you can take action. 

Where we stand now, in North Carolina, is that the NC General Assembly has passed this first step in distributing nearly $1.6 billion dollars sent to the state from the federal government from the CARES Act. There is much more that needs to take place around access to affordable, good quality health care/insurance, and Medicaid Expansion is key (see #3 below).

And having your vote really count requires having fair districts drawn by citizens rather than elected officials. Check the call to action (#2 below) for redistricting reform.  

With less than 6 months before the general election, one strength we have in our state is the many capable organizations that are working, often together, to address fair, safe and accessible voting. It starts with the NC Board of Elections, You Can Vote, Democracy NC, Carolina Jews for Justice, Common Cause NC, the NC League of Women Voters, League of Women Voters Asheville Buncombe, and League of Women Voters Henderson County; these are just some that are working on policy changes and advocating for needed funding. 

The key, however, is for all of us, on the level we feel we can, to play a role in this upcoming election. Please take the time to learn about the issues, candidates and the process with the intention of voting this fall. If you want to do more, check out the opportunities listed below or one of the organizations listed above.

Thanks for your interest in social justice. Together, we will make a difference!

         Ron Katz

Three Important Ways You Can Take Action

  1. Creating fair, accessible and safe voting is a necessity for every election, but COVID-19 is making the challenges even greater. Democracy NC is asking everyone to call on the leadership of the NC General Assembly to take action to provide funding AND change policies. Click here to find out how you can help.
  2. Redistricting reform is the term used to address and correct the unfair drawing of districts often referred to as gerrymandering. This is a critical time and opportunity for North Carolina to create fair districts. Fair Districts WNC has created this action plan to help everyone in WNC, with the time and interest, share their concerns and ask the NC General Assembly to take action. Check the calendar below for information on a June 3rd panel presentation on this important issue or click here to register to learn more.
  3. Medicaid Expansion has been available for North Carolina to accept/adopt since 2014. North Carolina is one of only 14 states that has not passed expansion in some form. Health care and insurance is a necessity for everyone. It is past time for Medicaid to be expanded, and this call to action is to encourage the NC General Assembly, especially its leadership, to join Governor Cooper in passing expansion during the short session.
Please feel free to share all these ways to take action with others!
Calendar of Events/Activities
     Here are some upcoming virtual events or meetings that focus on one or more social justice issues. Many of these require online registration, and most are free. Check the links to get that information and additional details.
  • Tomorrow, May 18th – Democracy NC now offers their monthly Buncombe County meeting virtually, 6 – 7 pm. Click here for details and to RSVP for this meeting.
  • May 19th – NC Justice Center zoom call: Education and the Law update on COVID-19, noon. Click here to register.
  • May 20th – Youth Mental Wellness and Social Connectedness, noon, offered by Sandy Hook Promise. For additional details and to register, go here.
  • May 20th – Democracy NC statewide advocates call, 6 pm. Click here to register and for additional details.
  • May 21st – WNC COVID Legal Hotline, from 8 am – 2 pm, offered by four organizations including Pisgah Legal Services. Get details here.
  • May 22nd – Navigating the urgency around voter registration under COVID-19 webinar from Nonprofit VOTE, 2 pm. Details and way to register here.
  • May 24th – Common Cause is doing an “activist webinar” on gerrymandering, 8 pm, including a sneak preview of “Slay the Dragon”. Click here to register.
  • May 27th – “Advocating for Climate Action with Compassion” – noon. Offered by the NC Council of Churches. Get details and register here.
  • May 27th – Protecting the NC elections amid COVID-19, 5 pm, offered by Common Cause NC. Click here for some details and to register.
  • May 28th – Virtual lecture from Christopher Holt, noon. Mr. Holt designed the fresco at Haywood Street Congregation. Tickets are free, but you must register here.
  • June 3rd Panel presentation on redistricting reform, starting at 6 pm. Learn what the impact of gerrymandering has done to lessen the importance of your vote and what you can do to create fair districts. Click here to register.
  • June 4th – Webinar for nonprofit, business and community organizations, noon. Offered the 1st Thursday of every month before November by You Can Vote. Click here for details and to register.
  • June 9th – Webinar for community and congregation leaders, 6 pm. Offered the 2nd Tuesday of every month before November by You Can Vote. Click here for details and to register.
  • June 20th – The Poor People’s Campaign was planning a nationwide rally in Washington, DC. With COVID-19, they have demonstrated their creativity and adjusted to a virtual gathering. Go here to volunteer or support this effort.
  • June 23rd – Second primary to elect Republican candidate for US House District 11. For Republicans and unaffiliated voters who did not choose a Democrat ballot in the March 3rd primary. Get details from NC Board of Elections and Buncombe Board of Elections.