RALEIGH (Jan. 2) – On Tuesday, January 3, the North Carolina NAACP, NC Justice Center, and NC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity will announce the first leg of the “Truth and Hope Tour of Poverty in North Carolina,” a state-wide tour of rural counties and inner city neighborhoods where North Carolinians have struggled to find work, decent housing, transportation, and sufficient food for their families.
“We want to shine the light of truth on the conditions of poverty and despair in North Carolina," said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, President of the NC NAACP. "We have faith there are leaders in our government, our media, our churches, and our schools who believe in the North Carolina Constitution's clear mandate that our ‘Government is instituted solely for the good of the whole.’ When our leaders act on that belief, a tidal wave of hope can come right behind the tornadoes of economic despair, creating a powerful new wave of economic and spiritual investment in Eastern North Carolina.”
Rev. Barber, Prof. Gene Nichol, Director of the NC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, and Melinda Lawrence, Director of the NC Justice Center, will provide details at the news conference about the first leg of the state-wide tour, which will travel through the northeast quadrant of the state. The tour will begin with Listening Sessions on January 5 in a half dozen counties, where citizens will have the opportunity to share their stories and experiences, and continue with Town Hall meetings on January 19 and 20. A bus full of activists, reporters, foundation leaders, scholars, and people directly affected by poverty will participate in the Town Hall meetings.
“The truth is,” Rev. Barber said, “government and the private sector have not adequately addressed the historical and structural causes of the deep poverty in Eastern North Carolina. Long before the Great Depression or the recent Great Recession, thousands of Black, White, Latino and Native American families lived on the edge of survival. The recent economic and ecological tornadoes that swept through Eastern N.C. just made the structural poverty worse.”
Professor Nichol added: "The scourge of poverty in North Carolina is both our largest policy challenge and our greatest sin against constitutional principle. We seek to shine a light through this tour on the huge gap between our words and our deeds."
Five years ago, the North Carolina NAACP began to build a multi-racial, multi-issue alliance of progressive organizations to form the Historic Thousands on Jones Street People’s Assembly Coalition (HKonJ-PAC). The movement, now with over 125 member organizations, has successfully pushed its anti-racist, anti-poverty and anti-war 14-point Legislative Agenda. HKonJ culminates with an annual “People’s Assembly” on the second Saturday in February, honoring the anniversary of the NAACP’s founding. On Saturday, February 11, 2012, NAACP members and progressive North Carolinians of all ages and races will gather in Raleigh to tell our politicians: “We The People Shall Not Be Moved: Forward Together, Not One Step Back!”
The Truth and Hope Tour of Poverty in North Carolina builds on the groundwork laid by 68 years of the NAACP’s existence in NC and the 5 years of movement building by the Historic Thousands on Jones Street People’s Assembly Coalition.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President, NC NAACP, 919.394.8137; Mrs. Amina Turner, Executive Director, NC NAACP, 919-682-4700.