North Carolina NAACP Promises 'Sit-Ins' If HB2 Isn't Repealed

“We are the laughing stock of the whole nation."

The President of North Carolina's NAACP chapter, William Barber, announced that he will organize a "mass sit-in" at the state's legislature later this month if lawmakers don't repeal House Bill 2 (HB2).

Barber said in a press conference on April 9 that North Carolina is "the laughing stock of the whole nation,” going on to mention how Bruce Springsteen cancelled his planned concert in the Southern state. "On the 25th we are calling on people of conscious to come in and engage in mass sit-ins," he said.

HB2, signed into law in North Carolina on March 23, “ban[s] employers and businesses from discriminating against employees or customers based on their race, color, country of origin, religion, age or ‘biological sex.’ The bill offers no protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and prevents local governments from passing any nondiscrimination policy that goes beyond the statewide standard.” The law also prohibits trans people from using the public restroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

Barber specifically called for intersectional activism to fight HB2.

“We cannot be silent in the face of this race-based, class-based, homophobic and transphobic attack on wage earners, civil rights, and the LGBTQ community,” Barber said in a news release, according to The Charlotte Observer. “Together with our many allies, we will coordinate a campaign of nonviolent direct action along with other forms of nonviolent protest that will instruct our legislators with respect to the rights of all people.”

Sit-ins have a particularly historical significance for North Carolina, with the nonviolent Greensboro sit-ins of the 1960s among the most well-known of the civil rights movement.

Other acts of protest in North Carolina include a new billboard from non-profit Planting Peace calling out the state's bigotry and comedian Joel McHale donating the profits from his recent Durham, North Carolina stand-up performance to the city's LGBTQ center.

We're thankful to William Barber for reminding us that the struggles of marginalized groups are not separate -- and we all must fight oppressive forces as those affected by systems of power together.