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Winston-Salem chronicle. (Winston-Salem, N.C.) 1974-current, August 06, 2015, Page A8, Image 8

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Social protest ers join ranks during a Moral Mondays' rally on the Beaver County Courthouse steps in Beaver, Pennsylvania, on Monday, July 27. Photos by Pred Mannenno 'Moral Mondays' movement taking shape in Western Pennsylvania BY TIMOTHY COX FOR THE CHRONICLE BEAVER, Pa. ? Taking a page from the civil rights playbook of well-known North Carolina minister Rev. Dr. William Barber II, members of a Beaver County and Lawrence County coalition comprised of pro-labor enthusiasts, the NAACP and peaceful social activists are participating in monthly protests known nationally as Moral Mondays.' The most recent rally occurred Monday, July 27, at the Beaver County Courthouse steps in Beaver, the county seat. Several participants listened to a series of speakers who discussed growing concerns related to the escalating impact of conservative issues primarily endorsed by Republican electoral candidates nation wide. Lin wood Alford, a lifelong resident of Beaver Falls and an executive member of the Beaver-Lawrence Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO), spoke at the rally. Willie Sallis, president of the Beaver County NAACP, discussed ways to main tain voting rights and find methods to make it easier to vote in the United States. Erin McClelland, a 12th District Democratic candidate for Congress, also talked about maintaining workers' bene fits. McClelland has strong labor union roots and is a staunch supporter of President Barack Obama. Alford said he specifically addressed the inequitable rates of incarceration fac ing blacks and other minorities, not only in Beaver and Lawrence counties, but also in Pittsburgh and nationally. New Castle is the county seat of Lawrence County. "What the system is doing to us is unbelievable," said Alford. He noted that nationally, one in 35 Blacks are incarcerat ed and one in 88 Latinos, compared with just one in every 214 whites. He contin ued, "Seventy-seven percent of people locked-up in America are Black and Latino. It's obvious we're being treated dif ferently." Alford said he generated his sta tistics from research and speeches given by President Obama and the former President Clinton. Alford said, the newly-organized Moral Mondays' in Beaver County are directly inspired by Barber, the president of the N.C. NAACP, which is based in Durham, a social activist who leads week ly protests at the Statehouse grounds in Raleigh, the state capitol of North Carolina. The protests in the Tar Heel have launched a grassroots social justice move ment not only in Western Pennsylvania, but in neighboring Southern states such as South Carolina and Georgia. The move ment was initiated in reaction to several conservative legislative acts by North Carolina lawmakers in 2013, according to published reports. One such act was to pass a law that gutted voting rights for North Carolinians. A trial in the lawsuit the N.C. NAACP and others brought against the law ended on July 31 in a federal court in Winston Salem. The peaceful protests are typified by North Carolina residents entering the state legislature building each Monday, and being peacefully arrested by authorities. The protesters generally support such issues as immigrant rights, improving criminal justice inequities, regaining workers' rights, LGBT issues and environ mental gains. Alford, 71, said his coalition was apprised of Moral Mondays after the Rev. Barber revealed the mission while attend ing an annual Beaver County NAACP banquet. Pittsburgh NAACP members are also on-board with the movement, Alford said. Alford is a longtime member of the Beaver County NAACP chapter, and is credited with organizing the annual Beaver County NAACP Human Rights Banquet, which includes participation from the Beaver-Lawrence Central Labor Council. TVial frontpage A1 rates at segregated schools in the Jim Crow Era did not make segrega tion constitutional. Thomas Fair, an attor ney representing the state, said during closing argu ments that the plaintiffs simply hadn t made their case. There is no constitu tional obligation to provide the provisions that where shortened, like early vot ing, or done away with, like out-of-precinct voting, pre-registration for teens or same-day registration. Many states don't offer these services, he pointed out. He said election laws didn't have to take into account the societal inequalities that the plain tiffs pointed out, like African-Americans being more likely to have less education and access to transportation. Daniel Donovan, one ? of the four attorneys who closed for the plaintiffs, said that the provisions tar geted by the voting law were 'not miere conven ience" but that they helped voters overcome obstacles and acted as failsafes for them. The case already went before Judge Schroeder last year, as plaintiffs asked for an injunction to prevent the new voting law from being implemented in the 2014 election. Schroeder ruled against them, but was reversed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's decision, allowing the law to go into effect and return ing the case to federal court. Donovan went over the Fourth Circuit's ruling, which said that the "totality of circumstances," includ ing considering past prac tices and previous changes to voting laws, such as changes that made it easier to vote, must be taken into account. He said the cir cuit court also ruled that voting can't be burdened based on a remote, theoret ical threat such as voter fraud, which was very rare, several witnesses have tes tified during the trial. Donovan said North Carolina was the first state to implement and repeal same-day registration. "No other state has tried that and that's why this case is so important." he said. He urged the judge to look at burdens placed on the voters, not the turnout of one high profile elec tion. One .slide he showed compared the $10 million in ads in the 2010 midterms to the $111 mil lion in ads in the 2014 midterm, spent largely on the Kay Hagen versus Thorn Tillis Senate race, which was the most expen sive race in the country. He compared the high er turnout for that one elec tion to a game where one sports team had more play ers than their opponents: the team with fewer play ers may still win, but that doesn t mean they weren't burdened. Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which the plaintiffs are suing under, doesn't require them to wait for a disparity to hap pen, he said. Donovan said the suit against the law was filed the day it went into effect to prevent what his tory has shown are the results of such laws. Plaintiffs are asking for the judge to strike down House Bill 589 and return the voting laws to the way they were before. Schroeder said that sound ed like Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a pre clearance provision for voting law changes in states and counties with a history of discrimination that was struct down in 2013 by the Supreme Court. The state agreed, but plaintiffs argued the judge has the authority under Section 2 to strike down the law. Schroeder said there was no doubt the measures affected by House Bill 589 were disproportionately used by African Americans. He said the bill made voting harder and the government shouldn't be in the business of making things harder, which made him wonder if lawmakers had an ulterior motive. Schroeder, along with questioning the claims on both sides, also asked what a ruling for the plaintiffs would look like. He asked how would he know when North Carolina is no longer in violation of the Voting Rights Act? He expressed concerns that such a ruling may make it difficult for states to change their elec tion laws without getting sued. After the trial, Barber and the plaintiffs' attorneys said they were encouraged that the judge's acknowl edged that the law made it more difficult to vote. They expressed confidence that they will win. "We leave our hearts here in North Carolina with the belief that we shall overcome," said Donita Judge, senior attorney for the Advancement Project, which represented the N.C. NAACP. No date was set for the voter ID portion of the case, which has yet to be heard after a new law soft ened the ID requirements for voters. ^? Wk mEEumsum miimkMm Wk.M KCAIffi SATURDAY NIGHT HEADLINED! ARC UOU BART SMART? TDIir 1- Pizza boxes can be recycled HUE 2. Milk jugs can be recycled OR 3. Styrofoam and clamshell food HI SI containers are not recyclable 1)1)1) 4. Metal pots and pans can be recycled. Ill 5. Hoses and wires are not recyclable. LEARN MORE AT RECYCLING.CITYOFWS.ORG i-s 'J-t i-E 1-Z 'd-l 5J3MSUV THE BEST GOLFING VALUE IN THE TRIAD! ? New, reshaped greens ? Improved tee boxes and sight lines ? Refurbished cart paths Open daily 7:30 a.m. - dusk Winston Lake Golf Course 3535 Winston Lake Road 727-2703 ???mm SHOWING THB MONTH ON MWANtfl CABLE CHANNEL 13 OR 743 MID ATAT UVERSF CHANNEL 88; ? Yaw Community ? East Wart Update ? REQUEST A SERVICE ? REPORT A PROBLEM ? MAKE A SUGGESTION Call 311 or 336-727-0000 (72? 8000) is open lo service all non-emei gency calls, 7 days a week The City of Winston Salem dees not chKnrrtnahj^n the b^s of racMeMOler, Mayor Mm Joints City Council VMan H. Burke. Mayor Pro Tampon, Northeast Ward; Denise D. Adams, North Ward; Dan Basse, Southwest Ward; Robert C. Clark, Wast Ward; MoDy leight. South Ward; Jeff Macintosh, Northwest Ward; Darwin L. Montgomery. East Ward; Jamas Taylor, Jr., Southeast Ward City Manager; Laa Garrity FIND US ON (

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