FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: James Perry
If passed, House Bill 519, short titled, Revise W-S Charter/Elections/Redistricting, would merge three majority African-American council districts, all currently represented by African-American Women, into a single district. The two eliminated African-American held district seats, along with one other district seat, would be replaced with three at-large seats. Additionally, the mayor would gain the voting powers and privileges afforded members of the council, making the Mayor a defacto fourth council at large council person.
The Supreme Court held in White vs Regester in 1973, that the practice of replacing district seats with at-large or multi-member districts in a manner that “invidiously discriminates” against minorities is illegal.
The Winston-Salem Chapter of the NAACP and Winston-Salem Urban League stand opposed to HB519 and call on its authors to revoke the bill because it would have an illegal discriminatory effect on African-American and Latino voters; the bill received no input from the electorate or elected officials that represent the affected areas; and portrays Winston-Salem as a city opposed diversity in elected leadership.
Rev. Alvin Carlisle, President of the NAACP remarked, “This piece of legislation is typical of the kind of wrangling that we have come to expect of this extremist controlled legislature. They consistently seek to garner unearned power by circumventing the will of African American Communities. The Winston Salem NAACP, will not stand idly by while the voice of the people is silenced.”
James Perry, President and CEO of the Winston-Salem Urban League remarked, “Reps Conrad and Lambeth have put forth a bill that could have the same chilling effect on Winston-Salem, that HB2 had on North Carolina. Upon learning that HB 519 targeted three black women on the city council and drastically diminished the voice of the black electorate, state and national leaders immediately began contacting me with talk of a Winston-Salem boycott.”
About Winston-Salem Chapter of the NAACP
The Winston-Salem Chapter of NAACP’s principal objective is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens of Winston-Salem and eliminate race prejudice. The Winston-Salem Chapter of NAACP seeks to remove all barriers of racial discrimination through the democratic processes
About Winston-Salem Urban League
The Winston-Salem Urban League is a civil rights non-profit organization. The Winston-Salem Urban League empowers and advocates for African Americans and other disenfranchised communities, and promotes socioeconomic progress and parity through education, training and civic engagement.