Morning! The good news is that it’s supposed to be a little warmer this week. Here’s what’s up:
1. Yup, HB 2 is still extremely bad.
On Friday afternoon, Bruce Springsteen announced that he was canceling his Greensboro show on Sunday due to HB 2.
As you, my fans, know I’m scheduled to play in Greensboro, North Carolina this Sunday. As we also know, North Carolina has just passed HB2, which the media are referring to as the “bathroom” law. HB2 — known officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use. Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden. To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress. Right now, there are many groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments. Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters. As a result, and with deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th. Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.
In a truly hilarious twist, Springsteen and his band using their personal freedom to protest North Carolina Republicans’ bad decisions ticked them off. NC executive director Dallas Woodhouse called the decision to cancel “bizarre,” while State Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said, “Bruce Springsteen’s concert would have been the perfect forum to explain his support for allowing men to use women’s bathrooms and locker rooms, and it’s unfortunate that he instead chose to cancel on his loyal fans at the last minute.”
Out in western North Carolina, Appalachian State students continued to occupy the school’s administrative building over the weekend, vowing to stay there until Chancellor Sherri Evans condemns the law. The school’s provost says Evans wants to meet with the group today.
As another way to fight HB 2, our own Grayson Haver Currin and frequent INDY contributor Tina Haver Currin started NC Needs You, a project that asks bands to subsidize profits to organizations committed to fighting HB 2 and the rest of Berger’s regressive agenda.
Also, a must-watch and a must-read: the News & Observer put a video out getting the reaction of transgender North Carolinians to HB 2, and an Associated Press story that puts HB 2 in the wider context of state legislatures’ war on local governments.
2. The state legislature gains a new, very familiar member.
In a rare bit of good news involving North Carolina’s government, the House of Representatives got a new member for the short session: Equality NC executive director Chris Sgro, a former economic development director for former US Senator Kay Hagan, who has been a leader against HB 2.
Sgro was picked by Guilford County Democrats to serve out the term of Rep. Ralph Johnson, who sadly died last month after a stroke.
Sgro says a top priority is the full repeal of HB 2, the law that his group Equality NC is also currently suing the state (along with the ACLU and individual plaintiffs) on the grounds that it’s unconstitutional and violates Title IX. “If they’re going to debate LGBT rights, then an LGBT person should be there to have that conversation,” Sgro told WSOC’s DaShawn Brown.
3. State legislative districts case begins in Greensboro.
Today marks the beginning of the legal challenge to gerrymandering in NC legislative districts, as Covington v. North Carolina begins in a federal court in Greensboro. The suit makes a similar argument to the one that spurred a special session for congressional redistricting back in February, saying that black voters were packed into districts in the 2011 redistricting process.
4. Apartment fire in Raleigh.
On Saturday evening, an apartment building caught fire near Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh. Although a Red Cross volunteer said the Edwards Mill Rd. fire was “the worst apartment fire I’ve seen,” thankfully only one person was hurt, resident Sharon Bryant. Bryant lost everything (including her two dogs) in the fire; you can donate to an online fundraising page set up for her here.
5. The Hurricanes wrap up another season.
With a loss on Saturday night to the Florida Panthers, the Carolina Hurricanes came to the end of a playoffs-less NHL season, with the league’s lowest average attendance even as they posted their best record in five years. Oh well; at least they didn’t break our hearts like the Panthers and Tar Heels, I guess.
That’s it. Have a good week!