CWM Newsletter Volume 2 Number 2 March 26, 2018
Greetings from Jan Anderson, CWM President
The Women’s Remarchable March on January 20th was a wonderfully strong start to 2018. Sixteen remarkable women shared their experiences in First Ward Park before the almost 10,000 women and men, then marched in support of women’s rights to Romare Bearden Park in Center City. And on March 24th, the CWM supported another great march — March for Our Lives — marching with high school students and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. The spirit of the movement is alive and well in Charlotte.
As we all know, these marches are just the beginning. They renew our energy and show us that we are not alone in our effort. We must turn them into a movement. Our theme for this year reflects the national organization’s 2018 theme: POWER TO THE POLLS. It exists because we’ll be most effective if we succeed in electing women and men who support our enlightened values.
In April, we invite all of our members — especially our newest ones — to join us at our Spring General Meeting on Apr. 24, 2018 at First United Methodist Church, 501 N. Tryon St. The program starts at 5:30 pm with a thoughtful panel discussion on immigration issues, then followed by a meet and greet social time. We look forward to meeting other broadminded women and men working for change.
Be sure to vote in the primaries on May 8 when many local elections will be determined in the primary. And please find a candidate and then help her or him win on November 6, 2018. By voting, canvassing and getting others to vote, we can help get progressives elected to local, statewide and federal offices. To find out more read Power to the (NC) Polls article on our website here.
Details to come for our June summertime social. In the meantime, get ready for the May 8 primaries, and MARCH ON!
Why WE March
Charlotte Women’s March encompasses a diverse group of women (and men) passionate about many important issues in Charlotte. Here are a few of the ways CWM members have been active in the past few months.
WE’VE BEEN BUSY: Nineteen volunteers from CWM, Davidson College, and others have been trained to become legal observers at Preferred Women’s Health Clinic and other Charlotte abortion clinics; Sue Duchanois is coordinating this effort to eliminate violence and intimidation and bring violent antiabortion extremists to justice. We also helped out at Planned Parenthood’s Condom Couture event at the Filmore on the 24th and at UNCC’s Activism Fair on Feb. 28.
COMING UP: “Sex Trafficking in Charlotte: Increasing Awareness” film screening and panel discussion, Apr. 15, 2-5 p.m. at Wedgewood Church, 4800 Wedgewood Dr., 28210. This event is sponsored by the Reproductive Rights Coalition, an organization eager to educate the Charlotte community about the horrors of sex trafficking. “I am Jane Doe,” a powerful 99-minute film about the families suing BackPage for their role in trafficking their daughters, will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Carla Tweddale, Founder/President of Lily Pad Haven; Cindy Quinlan, International Director of Youth4Abolition; and Sargent Sandy Richardson of CMPD’s Special Investigations Department. Unfortunately, NC is among the top 10 states in the US with the number of trafficking reports; almost 2,700 victims of human trafficking have been identified in the last decade.
POWER TO THE POLLS. JUSTICE TO ALL: The Immigration Committee is taking CWM’s ‘Power to the Polls’ charge to heart by providing members with learning and advocacy opportunities related to local elections that directly affect the region’s immigrant population.
The upcoming Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s race in the May 8th primary warrants immediate attention and engagement. Three Democratic candidates are running (incumbent Irwin Carmichael and challengers Antoine Ensley and Gary McFadden); no Republicans are running for sheriff. Much is at stake with this election, including the fate of the 287(g) program, which CWM and most progressive organizations strongly oppose.
Here’s the background: 287(g) is a federal program, named for a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which enables state and local law enforcement personnel to act on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, in enforcing federal immigration law. 287(g) is not required by law. It is a voluntary contractual agreement, and very few U.S. counties have chosen to participate.
While the initial intent of 287(g) was to identify and pursue those who committed serious crimes that threatened public interests, the program in Mecklenburg County has far exceeded those parameters.
Our neighbors are being unjustly targeted, detained and deported. In fact, most immigrants turned over to ICE have been apprehended for minor violations like driving without a license or expired license tags. Such a wholesale roundup of undocumented immigrants does not make our community safer. What it does, in fact, is crowd our jails, disrupt families, increase the victimization of immigrants, prompt a concerning rise in the number of unreported crimes, harm relationships between police and local communities, and incur additional taxpayer expense.
Here’s the Reality of Federal Law: Being in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant is neither a felony nor a misdemeanor. It is a civil infraction, not a crime.
Other important issues:
Solitary confinement of youth (16- and 17-year-olds), a practice ended at the federal and state levels, continues in Mecklenburg County. Juvenile offenders, including some who have yet to be convicted, can be subjected to solitary confinement, depriving them of interaction, classes, recreation time and calls beyond those to lawyers and bondsmen.
Here’s the Reality of NC Law: North Carolina is just one of two states that automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds as adults.
Finally, the issue of in-person vs. video-only visitation is one to consider as you fill out your ballot in May. Studies show that family visits correspond to decreased recidivism rates, yet the Mecklenburg Sheriff’s Office has made it harder for inmates to connect with family members. Mecklenburg County recently installed video technology, allowing inmates to have screen time with family members, for a fee. Sounds like a welcome benefit, right? Not so fast: At the same time, the Sheriff’s Office has discontinued in-person visits, making ‘virtual’ visits the sole option for inmates — an option that leaves much to be desired, according to those frustrated by poor audio and video quality, unresolved technical issues and cost.
So, what can you do?
- Read the letter Dear Sheriff Carmichael, signed by CWM and 40+ Charlotte organizations urging Sheriff Carmichael to discontinue the hurtful and ill-advised 287(g)program.
- Get to know the issues and candidates. Attend the Mecklenburg County Sheriff Candidate’s Forum, Sunday, April 22, 2-4pm, @ Johnson C. Smith University, Biddle Auditorium. All three candidates will attend. The forum is hosted by the Stan Greenspon Center for Peace & Social Justice, the Black Presbyterian Clergy of Charlotte, and Reentry Partners of Mecklenburg, Faith and Public Life. You’ll have the chance to learn their stance on the issues.
VOTE on May 8 – and encourage others to as well. Take your power to the poll
OUR FIRST YEAR ROCKED: In 2017, the Social Justice group sponsored two educational programs, a tour of the “K[NO]W Justice, K[NO]W Peace” exhibit, two reviews of the work of local artists, a book club event, and supported events backed by other organizations, including a showing of the movie 13th at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. We also worked to build relationships in the community, and lent our efforts to larger CWM events like the candidate gathering in December and the local march in January. For our second year, we’re developing more educational and experiential learning opportunities for our members, and we’ll announce details soon.
MUST READING: The Social Justice group encourages everyone to include The Charlotte Post and QCity Metro in your weekly reading of local events and editorials. These excellent news outlets provide an important voice for key issues. And here’s a link to a recent report from Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools that provides a district-wide analysis of poverty and school outcomes entitled Breaking the Link.
CANDIDATE SUPPORT/VOTER REGISTRATION
THINGS TO CELEBRATE: We’re happy to announce that Marsha Ford and Heloise Merrill are sponsoring a new 2018 Matching Contribution Challenge for contributions to Lillian’s List for the purpose of supporting 2018 progressive candidates and campaigns in North Carolina. More details on this challenge here: When We Give Together, We WIN. Deadline is noon on April 12, so don’t delay!
UPCOMING MEETINGS & ACTION: Apr. 17 and May 2: From 6-7:30 p.m., the Candidates & Votes Committee will meet at Heloise Merrill’s home at 1941 Ewing Avenue in Dilworth. Discussion items will include how we can participate in future voter registration efforts (including the League of Women Voters); support Swing Left efforts in Statesville and efforts by Indivisible; back Lillian’s List and Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts for General Elections in October and November. Strong desire to coordinate with other group(s) who have experience with GOTV — we would much appreciate guidance from anyone who has engaged in GOTV, and is willing to share the details.
WE’RE MARCHING: We marched with students in their fight against violence in schools on Mar. 24th at their March for Our Lives in Charlotte. On Apr. 20th, we’ll be supporting the NEA’s National Day of Action Against Gun Violence in Schools on Apr. 20, 2018. NEA and its members are joining with the National Public Education Network, American Federation of Teachers, Moms Demand Action, Everytown for Gun Safety, and other national organizations to take action against gun violence and to send a strong message to policy makers that #enoughisenough.
WE’RE WATCHING: We’re watchful of the NC legislature to insure they 1) do not cut class size without an increase in funding; 2) do not divert funding to charter schools; and 3) do not vote to arm teachers. So far, these initiatives are on hold, but we are ever watchful.
CWM celebrated Charlotte Women’s Day on March 8 in conjunction with International Women’s Day with a proclamation by Mayor Vi Lyles. Read more here.
NEWSLETTER CALENDAR to make your voice heard find out about many candidate forums, activist opportunities and community education opportunities on our calendar.
Help Needed: Environment Committee looking for a co-chair; contact Tina Maguylo, firstname.lastname@example.org
BYSTANDER OR CHANGE MAKER?
The reality is this: the extent of what we can achieve depends on the extent of the help you can give. Like any volunteer organization, we need time, talent, and funds. We need the help of passionately talented and committed volunteers like you. And we need donations from committed people like you. To read more click here.