Other Voices

Other Voices

Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Sometimes love wins: reflections of a straight pastor on the struggle for LGBTQ equality

In 1980, I moved to San Francisco, living in a collective in an old Victorian in Haight-Ashbury. Sitting in the parlor one day, I saw our neighbor descending the staircase — a bearded man wearing a nun’s habit. I later learned he was “Sister Boom Boom” of the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Veteran NC civil rights lawyer: The meaning, impact and promise of the Racial Justice Act

When I was a young Black lawyer in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, there was an unwritten rule in North Carolina’s courtrooms: Though race shaped every aspect of the criminal punishment system, we were not to mention it, let alone raise objections to it. Well over a decade before the U. S. Supreme Court outlawed racial discrimination in jury selection, I objected to Black people being excluded from a jury.

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Why NC needs to hit the pause on school choice until we meet students’ basic needs

When you’re stuck in a hole, the best advice is to stop digging. Few would dispute that North Carolina’s public schools currently find themselves in a hole. Over the past decade, Raleigh’s lawmakers have chosen to prioritize tax cuts for the rich over investing in our students. Over this period, student achievement has stalled with shockingly few high school graduates prepared for college-level coursework. The opportunity gaps faced by Black, Latinx and Native American students, and those from families with low incomes, have remained persistently high. Racial and economic segregation have increased.

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Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

Where are the pink pussy hats when Black women are dying?

This past week’s #BlackoutTuesday was a day to center the voices of Black people and amplify their stories and experiences. This is a necessity each day, not only Tuesday and not only last week. The eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence honoring the memory of George Floyd last Thursday was an act of solidarity that must extend every minute of every day, and must expand to include the memory of Black women, like Breonna Taylor and Michelle Cusseaux, who have also been murdered but have not been memorialized with the same energy and fervor because of the intersecting and cruel legacy of sexism and racism in America.

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Must Reads Other Voices Top Story

Report: NC’s failure to expand Medicaid constitutes “violence against the poor”

In late 2016, the North Carolina Poverty Research Fund issued a significant report on state access to health care entitled, “Putting A Face On Medicaid Expansion in North Carolina.” The study not only heavily documented the dramatic economic, social and health costs resulting from the state’s decision to refuse the proffered expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but it focused (somewhat atypically) on the stories of patients, families, doctors, nurses and other health care providers to illustrate, more concretely, the often tragic impact of the denial of expanded coverage on the lived experience of Tar Heels.

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

NC GOP once had it right on voting-by-mail and courts today should listen

As President Trump, Attorney General Barr and other conservatives fulminate against voting-by-mail, I’m reminded of the year when the North Carolina Republican Party kept urging a deceased family member to vote “from the comfort of your own house.” Some of the words and images in the GOP mailers were jarring to a family still coping with the loss of a loved one. “Don’t take Obamacare lying down” one said, accompanied by a photo of a hospital bed. ...

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Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

The relentless racial injustice that drives the protests roiling NC and the nation

It has been eight days since Minneapolis resident George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer. Floyd was described by friends and family as a “gentle giant,” a kind and trustworthy man with a big heart. At the time of his death, he was not resisting arrest. Chauvin, who along with the other three officers involved in Floyd’s death has since been terminated from his position, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on Friday, four days after he was caught on camera pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, refusing to let up even when Floyd begged for air and told Chauvin he could not breathe.

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Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

Latest ‘scandal’ a reminder of the Obama we know and the one in Trump’s head

We’ve known for a long time that former President Barack Obama lives rent-free inside Donald Trump’s brain. From trying to tear down the Affordable Care Act to his bizarre and baseless accusation that the prior administration didn’t leave him the testing apparatus or counsel to prepare for the current COVID-19 pandemic...

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Other Voices Top Story

NC teacher: Pandemic provides a welcome opportunity to reimagine public education

Ask a public education advocate when our society began doubting and undervaluing public schools and you will get a different response depending on whom you ask. Some advocates say that public education in America began to change after the publication of the 1983 report, “A Nation at Risk,” which created a false perception that our public schools were failing children.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Making the 2020 election, safe, fair and efficient: Now is the time to act

Members of the North Carolina House and Senate, resolutely confronting the deadly and disastrous coronavirus pandemic, have offered up shining examples of just what friends are for. Friends are there to rescue you as you are about to commit a major blunder – a blunder betraying long-held principles and maybe even helping some people who aren’t campaign mega-donors. The House, taking its cue from Speaker Tim Moore, agreed it would be a good idea – at least while the virus continues to cut its swath...

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COVID-19 Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

Trump order puts workers in meat and poultry processing, other essential industries in harm’s way

Frontline workers’ health and safety took another hit last week, after new Trump administration rules put meat and poultry processing workers at increased risk. This week COVID-19’s grim toll crossed 60,000 deaths. Over the past several weeks, the epidemic has ravaged workers in essential industries, from warehouses to grocery stores to meatpacking plants. Forced to work shoulder-to-shoulder without access to adequate, or in some cases, any protective gear, hand sanitizer, paid sick days, frontline workers across dozens of essential worksites are contracting and dying from COVID-19.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

The pandemic and North Carolinians battling drug addiction

COVID-19 is making community alternatives to incarceration more important than ever before Much important attention is focusing on how the COVID-19 pandemic is gravely affecting people who are incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons, a crisis that is worsening daily. There are also very serious concerns about justice-involved people who are living in the community during the pandemic, and are at particularly high risk.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Former longtime AP reporter: Trump defamation suits pose a chilling prospect for the press

In the long and dubious history of nasty presidential politics, the anti-Trump attack ad that the pro-Democrat super PAC Priorities USA paid NBC affiliate WJFW-TV in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, to televise in America’s 134th largest market seemed tame enough. The 30-second spot uses rapid-fire audio snippets of Trump dismissing the seriousness of the nascent but fast-growing COVID-19 outbreak from late January through late March while an on-screen graph ticks increasingly upward as U.S. cases exponentially multiply. In one snippet, Trump appears to dismiss the virus as “a hoax.”

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Progressive Voices Top Story

While COVID-19 spreads, Trump and McConnell prioritize packing the courts

The United States joins the rest of the world in struggling through a public health emergency, the likes of which few alive have ever seen. Not since 1918 has a pandemic taxed our health care systems, and stressed our economies, in such extraordinary ways. One would expect key leaders such as the President of the United States and the Senate Majority leader to focus like a laser on protecting the American people. Yet, President Donald Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have decided to focus, instead, on packing our federal courts with dangerous and unqualified conservative ideologues.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Assistance for incarcerated people discharged during the pandemic: The humane and constitutional thing to do

As local, state and federal officials race to arrange for the discharge of sick, elderly and non-violent incarcerated persons in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its swift spread through correctional institutions, a big question arises: must there be discharge plans for these men and women to help protect their health and that of the public? It’s been more than four decades since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that that the Constitution entitles people held inside jails and prison to necessary medical care.

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Defending Democracy Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Now is the time to act to protect the integrity of the November election

When members of the N.C. General Assembly reconvene tomorrow – presumably wearing masks and taking all the other recommended precautions to stay safe and help foil the spread of COVID-19 – they’ll confront an unprecedented tangle of complex and crucial issues. Normally – yes, what we wouldn’t give for some normality – legislators’ main chore this spring would be truing up the proposed state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Even before North Carolina and the rest of Planet Earth got whacked with a viral pandemic, however, that budget exercise was going to be messy. There was no proposed budget to true up because of a legislative standoff with Gov. Roy Cooper.

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