RALEIGH – Thursday evening, after a week of daily protests swept across the country, nearly 200 attendees participated in an online conversation about racial injustice moderated by Organizing Together North Carolina Co-Chair and State Rep. Chaz Beasley. Prominent leaders including Rep. David Price, NC AFL-CIO President MaryBe McMillan, and Advance Carolina Executive Director Marcus Bass spoke directly to North Carolinians about the murder of George Floyd and systemic racism plaguing the country.
“There’s a history here of this kind of racism in law enforcement and profiling and careless attitude towards Black lives,” said Rep. David Price.
“It’s a problem that has gotten worse, not better, even though there should have been so much attention paid to it – and then we’re in the middle of this pandemic which is also showing an unforgiving light on racial differences in this society.”
“This is a very scary situation,” said Sherita McCullers, a transit operator in the Raleigh-area for 26 years. McCullers shared a troubling experience of driving busses where passengers repeatedly refuse to wear masks and often surpass maximum passenger capacity required by the Governor.
“In the beginning we were told we couldn’t wear a mask because it was a city ordinance. They couldn’t find any hand sanitizers or clorox, so drivers had to go out and find their own stuff to clean their units. We just need a lot of people to support us with the city of Raleigh.”
NC AFL-CIO President McMillan spoke to the racism seen in our economy and workplaces, articulating rapidly increasing income inequality and a divide between the haves and have-nots. “Black people are dealing with not only disproportionate impacts from COVID-19, but centuries of racism, a racism so deep that it pervades our criminal justice system, education system, our politics and our economy.” she noted.
“There is racism in the American workplace – you see it in who gets hired, what folks get paid, and who gets promoted.”
Marcus Bass led with a moment of silence in memory of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others who lost their lives at the hands of police violence.
“It’s devastating for us to have to come to another lossed life to see this type of intensity,” Bass reminded hundreds of people on the call. “When we say Black lives matter in our speeches, we need to match it in our legislation. I think we have to advance from just having a conversation about who we get in office to how we can create a larger progressive strategy.”
The Pandemic of Racial Injustice event was hosted by Organizing Together North Carolina, the first of the Wired Wednesday series to focus on the most pressing issues to people across North Carolina. Organizing Together North Carolina is community-based and volunteer-driven, designed to get progressive infrastructure running earlier than ever before. To get involved, you can find a list of events on their website: https://northcarolina.organizing2020.com/.
For more information, please contact Braxton Brewington at 919-915-1801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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