14 Point People’s Agenda for North Carolina
1. All Children Need High Quality, Constitutional, Well-Funded, Diverse Public Schools. NC must meet its Constitution's requirement of adequate and diverse schools by fully funding Leandro with transparent accountability and creating special leadership teams in its failing schools.
- Stop trends of resegregation
- Fully fund all programs designed to aid at-risk, disadvantaged students
- Enact specific reforms targeted at reducing the dropout rate and the number of student suspensions and expulsions by, among other things, implementing fairer student discipline policies and assuring that every at-risk child has a Personal Education Plan.
- Provide adequate state appropriations to fully comply with the Leandro guarantee of a sound basic education for all children
- Appoint a Joint Legislative Committee on Constitutional Education
- Hire Special Leadership Teams of 3-5 experts in each school found in violation of the Constitution to reengage young people and their parents in the educational process
- Freeze university tuition rates
2. Livable Wages and Support for Low Income People. NC must provide livable wages, make sure no person goes hungry and ensure that everyone in need has affordable, accessible childcare.
- Raise the state minimum wage and index it to inflation
- Require state contractors to pay all employees a “living wage” plus benefits
- Continue to increase the state earned income tax credit
- Dramatically expand Food Stamp outreach and eliminate asset limits for recipients
- Provide the funding necessary to eliminate the state childcare waiting list
- Ensure that all workers have access to workplace benefits such as paid sick days
- Require business incentive recipients to pay a living wage with benefits
- Enact improved housing and workplace standards for farm and factory workers
- Increase funding for worker training and education programs by 50%
3. Health Care for All. NC must provide its people with health insurance and prescription drugs, while funding public health programs to treat social diseases that plague Black and poor communities including HIV/AIDS, diseases caused by environmental pollution and warming, drugs, domestic violence, mental illness, diabetes and obesity.
- Reject efforts to repeal the national health care reform law and fully implement it in NC
- Preserve state funding for Medicaid, Health Choice and other essential programs
- Act immediately to address the crisis in the treatment and placement for persons with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities and substance abuse problems
- Triple funding for the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities and state HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs
4. Redress Ugly Chapters in N. C.'s Racist History: The overthrow of the bi-racial 1898 Wilmington Government, the sterilization of poor, mainly Black, women from 1947-1977 and the 1979 Greensboro Massacre. NC must implement the 1898 Wilmington Riot Commissionrecommendations, pay damages to the people it forcibly sterilized and confront hate groups that would violate human rights.
- Enact recently recommended legislation that would pay $50,000 to each victim of forcible sterilization
- Re-constitute the official 1898 Wilmington Riot Commission to oversee the implementation of its 15 recommendations
- Construct a Monument Honoring African Americans on the grounds of the state Capitol
- Establish a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission for North Carolina” modeled on previous efforts in Greensboro and South Africa
- Double state appropriations for the state’s nonprofit, minority community economic development “package”
5. Expand and Improve Same Day Registration and Public Financing of Elections
- Defeat discriminatory proposals to mandate photo ID for all people exercising their right to vote
- Expand early voting and same day registration hours and locations and improve oversight of voting rights protections
- Expand public financing of statewide elections to additional offices and enact a pilot program for selected seats in the General Assembly
6. Lift Every HBCU. NC must financially support our Historically Black Colleges and Universities to develop equitable infrastructure and programs with doctoral-level leadership for today's challenges.
- Reject any proposed tuition hikes
- Establish an HBCU Development Commission with staff and a long-term mandate to increase public and private funding for the HBCUs as well for need-based scholarships, higher faculty salaries, better recruitment programs and stronger curricula
- Establish the principles of “construction parity,” “salary parity” and “graduate program parity,” for all universities by adequately funding HBCU capital needs and salaries and providing new funding for HBCU doctoral programs
- Double need-based financial aid for HBCU’s
- Increase and enhance HBCU academic programs to address the critical needs of minority and poor families including high quality teacher education programs for teachers in low wealth schools and cutting edge environmental science programs
- Increase funding for capital improvements, maintenance, and recruitment and develop more professional schools at HBCU’s
- Protect students of HBCU’s and other institutions of higher learning that serve predominantly poor populations against predatory lenders and others who burden students with high student financial indebtedness
7. Document and Redress 200 years of State Discrimination in Hiring and Contracting.
NC must commission historical documentation of its contracting practices with racial minorities to justify constitutional redress.
- Fund an independent study of the state’s historical record in contracting with and hiring racial minorities that will report its findings to the General Assembly and make specific recommendations for remedying past discrimination
- Establish special support centers at Community Colleges and HBCU’s throughout the State to help minority-owned businesses and contractors take full advantage of new business opportunities
8. Provide Affordable Housing and Stop Consumer Abuse. NC must adequately fund the state Housing Trust Fund for low-income renters, provide vouchers for veterans who cannot find decent housing, expand tax breaks that keep seniors in their homes, and strengthen protections against predatory lending and foreclosures
- Appropriate $50 million to the N.C. Housing Trust Fund
- Expand appropriations to the N.C. Home Protection Program
- Continue to reject efforts to legalize new high-cost loan products and proposals to allow the garnishment of wages for debt owed to private creditors
- Pass the Homeowner and Homebuyer Protection Act (passed August 2010)
- Promote fair annexation policies for low-wealth communities
- Prohibit mandatory renter’s insurance
- Ensure that new public transportation projects do not displace (and are accessible to) low-income people
9. Abolish the Racially-Biased Death Penalty and Mandatory Sentencing Laws; Reform our Prisons.
- Reject efforts to repeal the Racial Justice
- Pass legislation that would ban executions of persons with severe mental disabilities as a precursor to repealing the death penalty in its entirety
- Enact the reform recommendations of the N.C. Sentencing Commission
- Fund alternative sentencing programs
- Dramatically expand services to prisoners re-entering society
- Enact a moratorium on the construction of new prisons
- Raise the age for adult prosecution from age 16 to age 18
- Establish a joint NAACP/Department of Correction program to promote literacy, strengthen ties between inmates and their families and communities, and aid the re-entry process
10. Promote Environmental Justice. NC must fight all forms of environmental injustice, promote green jobs, and establish an Environmental Job Corps that will employ young people who did not graduate high school and re-engage them in public service.
- Establish a state “Environmental Justice Youth Board” and fund youth employment in environmental protection
- Enact new policies to prohibit the concentration of pollution sources near low-income and minority communities
11. Collective Bargaining for Public Employees and Worker Safety. NC must repeal the state law that prohibits public employee collective bargaining and toughen laws that regulate workplace safety.
- Enact legislation to repeal the ban on collective bargaining contained in G.S. 95-98
- Expand and improve state regulation of workplace safety – especially in the meatpacking and poultry industries
12. Protect the Rights of Immigrants from Latin America and other Nations. NC must provide immigrants with health care, education, workers rights and protection from discrimination.
- Assure that all graduates of North Carolina high schools are eligible for admission to state universities and community colleges at in-state tuition rates
- Call on federal lawmakers to adopt responsible, comprehensive immigration reform
- End state and local law enforcement participation in the federal 287(g) deportation program and reject the use of local law enforcement to enforce non-criminal immigration violations and/or to deny due process to persons because of their immigration status
13. Organize, Strengthen and Provide Funding For Our Civil Rights Enforcement Agencies and Statutes Now.
- Enact a comprehensive N.C. Civil Rights Act that is clear to employers and employees, landlords and tenants, property sellers and buyers, with effective disincentives for proven discrimination
- Establish and adequately fund a single, unified state Department of Human Rights that is empowered to investigate, conciliate and adjudicate cases of alleged discrimination
14. Bring Our Troops Home from Iraq Now. NC cannot address injustice at home while we wage an unjust war abroad. (A victory on the Agenda! The President of the US withdrew all troops from Iraq as of December 31, 2011.)
- Establish a study commission to examine the mental and physical health care available for returning troops and their families in North Carolina and to make specific recommendations for programmatic changes that will assure the availability of essential services