More than 160 organizations representing millions of North Carolinians brought members to the "State of Emergency" rally on Monday, June 15
RALEIGH (June 15) - A rally outside the North Carolina General Assembly on Monday had a clear message for lawmakers: pass a budget that preserves vital public investments by raising revenue and minimizing cuts that could devastate families across the state.
"Just as we have come together today, it is time for our elected officials to come together and pass a budget that maintains investments in our children and families to promote future prosperity for all," said moderator Sue Perry Cole, head of the North Carolina Association of Community Development Corporations.
The "State of Emergency" rally was organized by the Together NC coalition and the Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HK on J) partners. The rally attracted representatives from more than 160 distinct groups representing millions of North Carolinians.
Two speakers at the event were community members who had attended town hall meetings held by Together NC in different areas throughout the state.
One, Tracy Harrington of Winterville, was so moved by the prospect of deep cuts that she wrote a letter to every legislator. Harrington read the letter in its entirety at the rally.
"I am a proud citizen of Pitt County and North Carolina. I want to do my part ... I don't believe my part is to have my job and the services we provide to the children of NC eliminated ... I am a Republican, a woman, a mother, a citizen of NC," she wrote, "asking you to please raise revenue and implement moderate cuts to find the money that we need."
Another, Carol Artis of Goldsboro, is principal at North Drive Elementary and mother of a special needs child.
"Imagine a North Carolina where every child has access to the highest-quality education. Think of the great things that our kids could achieve - the businesses they could start, the jobs they could create, the public service they could do," said Artis. "That North Carolina is within our grasp. All we have to do is make the right budget choices today."
The day's final speaker was NC NAACP director Rev. William Barber, who urged people to unite in an effort for a fair budget that protects working families.
"We need to move from talking about tax cuts and tax raises, to a discussion about investing in children, care for the sick, protecting the mentally ill, and supporting workers," said Rev. Barber. "Budget priorities for a progressive North Carolina ought to lead us in budget spending, not vice versa."
The State of Emergency Rally in Raleigh ran concurrently with another rally, "Raise Our Voice for Children," being held in Asheville today by Together NC partners. Children First/Communities in Schools of Buncombe gathered at Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville. Children First/CIS have endorsed the principles of Together NC (www.togethernc.org) to take a balanced approach to the budget and protect critical investments through responsible revenue reform.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Jeff Shaw, North Carolina Justice Center, 919.863.2402 (office) 503.551.3615 (mobile); Rob Thompson, Covenant with North Carolina's Children, 919.866.3280 (office) 919.649.2449 (mobile).