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    North Carolina #NO HB2!

    NEW BT 6.23 all_Page_08_Image_0001Mandy Carter has been, as she puts it, an “out, southern, black, lesbian, social justice activist” who has advocated for human rights for five decades. A Co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, Carter is traveling from North Carolina to be with us for the San Francisco Pride Parade with two other main efforts in mind: the Maud’s 50th Anniversary Reunion, which she and her team are leading (see other story on this page), and the fight against House Bill 2 (HB2): The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, officially called “An Act to Provide for Single-sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities in Schools and Public Agencies and to Create Statewide Consistency in Regulation of Employment and Public Accommodations.”

    Carter, who moved from San Francisco to Durham 34 years ago, has been leading the battle to repeal this backward bill. As she tells us, “On March 13, our Republican North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed the most extreme anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in the entire country into law in North Carolina. HB2 overturns all local LGBTQ+ non-discrimination ordinances already existing in North Carolina, and bans local governments from passing non-discrimination ordinances in the future.”

    “HB2,” she continued, “also bans transgender people from using restrooms that match their gender identity unless they have their gender marker changed on their birth certificate. This law is an omnibus piece of legislation, combining a ban of any LGBTQ+ ordinances and anti-transgender bathroom policies.”

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    The good news is that there is an ongoing massive show of support for the efforts of Carter and others who are against the bill. From major businesses to international celebrities and numerous hard-working North Carolinians, countless people have been standing up against HB2.

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    Carter said, “And we now have the federal government involved via U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. Lynch, who was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, is the first ever African American woman to be the U.S. Attorney General of this county. On May 9, she held a news conference in Washington, D.C., to respond to North Carolina Governor McCrory’s lawsuit over HB2.”

    It is interesting to note that Lynch’s birthplace was where the Greensboro sit-ins took place in 1960. These non-violent protests led to the removal of a policy of racial segregation at the Woolworth department store chain. While not the first sit-ins of the Civil Rights Movement, the Greensboro protests marked key, instrumental actions. They led to increased national sentiment at a crucial period in our nation’s history. The primary event took place at the Greensboro, North Carolina, Woolworth store, which is now the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

    North Carolina is therefore once again at the center of attention concerning a civil rights matter. With the tireless work of Carter, Lynch and many others, there is hope that HB2 will soon go the way of racial segregation and other hateful practices. On the same day as Lynch’s news conference, the United States Department of Justice sued Governor Pat McCrory, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, and the University of North Carolina system, stating that HB2 violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Violence Against Women Act.

    That same day as well, North Carolina’s governor and legislative leaders filed two separate lawsuits against the Department of Justice to defend the law. Two private lawsuits are also underway, one challenging and the other defending HB2, so the fight against HB2 is far from over.

    We therefore invite you to attend a free related event that Carter is organizing. The event, “Indivisibility of Justice: North Carolina #NO HB2; #WeAreOrlando”—A Free Community Forum,” will be held on Tuesday, June 28, from 7 pm to 9 pm at the San Francisco GLBT History Museum, 4127 18th Street. Presenters will include Carter as well as Kris Hayashi of the Transgender Law Center and Kenneth Monteiro of San Francisco State University’s College of Ethnic Studies. The event will provide a rare chance to hear directly from those who are in the trenches against HB2, and to show your own support for their often challenging work.