North Carolina youth are setting the tone and leading the way in mobilizing efforts across a broad range of issues. Whether it’s addressing police brutality, anti LGBTQ policy, the disenfranchisement of the poor and working class, or the destruction of our land we folks pulling together their energies and resources to create change for tomorrow and today. KINDLING is a monthly newsletter that uplifts some of the efforts that are happening across the state. Check out our first issue: Kindling October Newsletter
Students Band Together Against Voter Suppression
We are at a critical moment in North Carolina. Just a few weeks ago, the courts struck down NC monster voting law reinstating the law as prior to 2013. This means that same day registration, expanded early voting, and no ID requirement is the law….For now!
The monster law was not the first attempt to suppress the voices of youth of color and LGBTQ youth at the ballot box. We know poll workers, board of election officials and regressive ideologues want to restrict the process of who has access to the ballot.
With laws such as HB2 (anti-trans, anti-worker) and HB972 (does not allow public access to body cam footage) this election is vital that young people have access to show support or against politicians. These attacks have not stopped dedicated residents of this state from banding together to elevate the people’s voice. Since 2013 Ignite NC deployed more than 800 volunteers to monitor the polls on Election day and during early voting. Election Protection volunteers will be trained to be the eyes and ears on the ground documenting and combating voter suppression. As the monster voting law goes to the supreme court we will collect stories about folks experiences at the polls that will impact the ongoing litigation. We must ensure that every voter has the opportunity to vote, and every vote must count.
In 2013, Pat McCrory passed H.B. 589, putting into effect one of the worst voter suppression laws in the country. Measures such as the photo ID requirement at the polls, the elimination of pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and shortening the early voting period by a week aim to disenfranchise people of color, working people, immigrants, and students. By suppressing these voices, those behind this law aim for a future without regard for education, healthcare, and other public services.
These efforts have caused a litany of problems related to voting across North Carolina since it has passed, including out-of-state students turned away for improper ID without being offered provisional ballots or impediment forms, lines of 3+ hours because of narrowed early voting hours and mass voter confusion.
In particular, students at North Carolina State University did not have access to any early voting sites within walking distance to their campus, because the Wake County Board of Elections failed to provide such a site. Ignite NC’s Vote Defender Project has mobilized hundreds of volunteers to protect the right to vote, and we must continue the effort to increase access to the polls. This summer, the Board of Elections will make decisions about the placement of early voting sites.
2016 has been a tumultuous year for voting rights. We must stand up to the BOE at their meetings in order to win accessible early voting sites for students in North Carolina. We must also continue to advocate for students, people of color, immigrants, older people, and working people.
Stop Voter Suppression in Wake County
Ignite NC is calling on all people to stand up and fight against voter suppression that disproportionately impacts youth, people of color, and working class people across the state. In March’s primary Wake county residents experienced extremely long lines with 3 hour waits, and students in particular experienced transportation barriers due to the county’s failure to provide a single Early Voting site on or within walking distance of the largest campus, NC State. The new voter ID law and lack of information the county provided to its residents resulted in 8,000 provisional ballots being casted. However, despite the efforts to suppress turnout Wake County’s turnout of 41 percent exceeded the state’s 35 percent.
Now more than ever it’s important for us to continue to advocate for accessible voting sites and hours that include Sunday. These are necessary in order to increase the turnout of students and communities that have been historically discouraged from participating in democratic processes. We want to make sure that as many folk as possible are able to access the ballot box as we unite against voter suppression.
We are asking all concerned residents to come out and wake up the Board of Elections. We must awaken them to the needs of our communities and demand that we are adequately represented and have a voice in the decision making process. On June 30 at 5pm we will descend upon the Wake County Board of Elections, and advocate for a early voting plan that serves the people!
APPLICATION DEADLINE IS Sunday, January 1 at 11:59PM. Applications sent earlier will be prioritized. $500 stipend upon successful completion. Descriptions of fellowships are below
Decisions will be made by January 6.
*Must be in North Carolina
*Must be between the ages of 18-30
*Must be committed to to social justice
*Must be available for training January 13-16 training, & evaluation convening April 22-23
Women, LGBTQ folks, and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply. We believe in centering and elevating youth led leadership of the most marginalized among us. We believe that when we unite and organize we create change in our communities and throughout the state of North Carolina.
Fellowship term: January 6, 2017 – April 23, 2017
ABOUT IGNITE NC
Solutions to the problems facing North Carolina and our global community lie within our ability to work together for the common good and to build the leadership and power of young people to create lasting change. In order to create the kind of future we all deserve, we must understand our past, defend the gains made by those who came before us, and ignite and empower everyday people to lead efforts to build a fair and just future. When those most affected by injustice are the leaders who find and implement solutions, we will create a better world. We put our mission into practice by cultivating young leaders, building skills, and sharing an intersectional analysis that sees all of us as part of a legacy of change. We view youth as leaders who are capable of articulating their struggles and creating tangible solutions.
THE FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
Started in 2013, our fellows are engaged in dynamic campaigns and organizing efforts aligned with the mission of Ignite NC and centered around the issues that concern their communities. Some of these efforts have included campaigns for a livable wage, Black Lives Matter, UNC Board of Governors and administration accountability, HB2, and election protection.
Ignite NC is building a network of youth organizers to build organization and win concrete changes in our communities across the state. From police murders to attacks on voting rights, youth are facing attacks on all levels. However, young people are taking to the streets and rising up to demand justice in our communities. Historically young people have played a significant role in transforming the country and the world. We are calling all youth who are ready to join the movement for justice to continue this legacy and apply for the Ignite NC fellowship. The stakes are too high, we must take a stand and develop campaigns that change the future of our communities.
If you are currently working with a campus or community organization, or want to help build the youth and student movement, this fellowship provides organizing training, mentorship, connection to youth across the state, tools to create transformative change and a stipend to enable you to spend more dedicated time to organize.
Ignite NC is accepting applications for fellowships this Spring: Trianing Fellow, Community Organizing and Media & Communications.
Applications are due January 1, 2017. Everyone will be notified by January 6, 2017.
These fellows will work directly with staff to also be another resource for the Organizing and Communications fellow.
Their main workplan for the semester will be to develop a training to happen by the end of the semester on their campus or community that builds knowledge and skills.
Whether it is in the beginning or end of the semester, the bulk of their work will be getting trained themselves on facilitation, base building, leadership skills, etc.
They are also welcome to engage and organize with any of the work the organizing and communictationss fellows will be committed to.
To apply fill out the application send a copy of your resume to email@example.com
Community Organizing Fellow:
Ignite NC is committed to providing organizational resources to support ongoing efforts to build power for young people and people of color in NC. This upcoming semester we will be focusing on three main issue areas!
Higher Education: Universities in NC have become increasingly inaccessible. Youth are forced to take out thousands of dollars of debt while class sizes grow and programs and centers get cut. Be part of a campaign team that organizes for accessible higher education.
Migrant Justice: Young people across the country have changed the national narrative what it means to be a immigrant in this country. From challenging narratives of what it means to be workers, demanding equitable access to education, demanding justice for those detained in detention centers, and changing city and campus policy to address issues of safety, discrimination, and sactuary. Be a part of a team seeking to bring capacity to this movement on a local level developing a work-plan that builds upon local coalition campaigns.
Gender Justice: Students have been at the forefront informing the narrative and addressing concerns of gender equity in this state and nation. From House Bill 2, the anti-worker, anti-trans legislation passed in March 2016 in NC, to addressing sexual assault and reproductive healthcare, more than ever youg people must direct the conversation and movement for gender justice. Be a part of a team that works to educate the larger community that works to fight back against gender based violence and discrimination. Read more about HouseBill 2 here.
To apply fill out the application send a copy of your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
Communication Fellow’s will support the organizing work of the organizing fellows! Activities will include writing press releases, managing social media, creating graphics/flyers, updating website and developing a media strategy.
- Develop and implement a media strategy that supports organizing efforts
- Using traditional and social media to create awareness about emerging organizations and initiatives
- Creating email announcements that uplift and aid organizing work
- Create materials and keep website updated
- Gather pledge cards to engage youth around relevant issues
Ideal candidates will have:
- Be Familiar with wordpress, HTML, social media platforms and have communication experience
- Demonstrates a passion for understanding strategic communications and its integration into an overall marketing strategy.
- Exceptional written and personal communication skills
- Demonstrated creativity in the practice of PR or related field
- Willingness and ability to work well in teams
- Experience in manage social media accounts
To apply fill out the application send a copy of your resume to email@example.com
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On the anniversary of the passing of Blake Brockington, a Black trans teen from Charlotte, N.C., Gov. Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly moved to attack working people and create dangerous conditions for women, LGBTQ people, Black and Brown people, and any workers who experience discrimination or who struggle to make ends meet.
The General Assembly and Gov. McCrory chose to criminalize trans and gender nonconforming children and youth, and to scapegoat trans women and other trans people for rape by passing NC HB 2. House Bill 2 bars city and county governments from raising their municipal minimum wage, as well as prohibiting anti-discrimination policies that account for gender identity, expression and sexual orientation.
Lawmakers were given only five minutes to review the bill and it passed within a 12-hour period without a single trans person of color being allowed to speak.
- This bill reinforces the school-to-prison pipeline that trans and gender nonconforming students of color already face, by making their choice of toilet grounds for suspension or arrest.
- This bill rolls back decades of hard-won progress and will harm our whole state. It undermines municipal democratic control, advancements in anti-discrimination policy and further prohibits wage increases. This is a direct assault on working families and particularly working women of color, who are most likely to be paid poverty wages. LGBTQ folks of color are workers, and we are worth more!
- This bill uses trans panic and the scapegoating of trans women to derail real conversations about safety and consent. Trans and queer people are survivors of sexual assault, too. Our safety matters, and we don’t make our community safer by threatening others with the brute force of the murderous police or incarceration. If our state is truly concerned for survivors of sexual assault, it will make comprehensive consent and sex education mandatory. This law does nothing to prevent indecent exposure and sexual assault, which are already illegal, but instead prevents local governments from protecting the safety and livelihoods of queer and trans people.
- We honor and fight for Blake by affirming that our lives matter. Anti-transgender bias and legislation and persistent structural racism directly impact the devastating rates of suicidality, unemployment, physical and sexual violence, poverty, incarceration and homelessness experienced by transgender people of color.
- Trans and Queer people of color demand a living wage and freedom from criminalization and discrimination, in the workplace and in the bathroom.
Tonight, we are calling for a Special Session of the People outside of the Governor’s mansion. For Blake Brockington, for Angel Elisha Walker, for all Black and Brown trans and queer people in North Carolina who have been murdered, disappeared or incarcerated, it is our duty to speak. It is our duty to demand freedom, to demand a living wage, to demand education, to demand comprehensive health care that is accessible and free of charge.
QPOCC, The Tribe, #BlackLivesMatter North Carolina, Sister Song, Ignite NC, Southern Vision Alliance, Youth Organizing Institute, #BlackLivesMatter Gate City, Workers World Party, SONG NC, Greensboro Mural Project, GenderBenders, Fight for $15, QORDS, Trans Pride in Action, Queer Youth Circus, House daLorde, Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia (MERI-NC), SAFE Coalition NC, LGBTQ Center of Durham, Center for Family and Maternal Wellness.
 Trans People of Color experience rates up to four times the national unemployment rate. Black transgender people live in extreme poverty with 34 percent reporting a household income of less than $10,000 per year. This is more than twice the rate for transgender people of all races (15 percent), four times the general Black population rate (9 percent), and over eight times the general U.S. population rate (4 percent). Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Discrimination Survey. National Center for Trans Equality and National GLBTQ Task Force (2011).
 In the 2011, Injustice at Every Turn National Report comprising of 6,450 transgender and gender non-conforming participants: 41 percent of respondence reported attempting suicide, 55 percent lost a job due to bias, 51 percent were harassed/bullied in school, or were the victims of physical assault (61 percent) or sexual assault (64 percent). www.endtransdiscrimination.org
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Early Voting Monitors Find Pat McCrory’s Monster Voter Suppression Law Impedes Young Voters. Youth Mobilize to Protect NC Voting Integrity.
In August 2013, Pat McCroy signed HB589 into law, a set of new rules referred to pro-democracy advocates as North Carolina’s Monster Voting law. On the day Gov McCrory signed the bill he stated, “…the law will ensure integrity at the North Carolina ballot box and provide greater equality in access to voting.”
While the Constitutionality of the laws remains quagmired in litigation, most aspects of the law will be implemented during this March election cycle, including:
- A reduction in the time period for Early Voting,
- An end to out-of-precinct voting,
- The expansion of the ability of a voter to challenge another voter at the polls,
- An end to the broadly popular pre-registration for 16 and 17 year-olds,
- Requiring a state issued Voter ID, but excluding the use of university IDs.
In response Ignite NC’s Vote Defender Project, launched in August 2013, has trained and deployed non-partisan election protection volunteers across the state during the March early voting period. These “Vote Defenders” will provide voters with information about the new laws, document
any incidents, and conduct an academic exit survey in partnership with a political science professor at UNC-Charlotte. On Election Day, Ignite NC will join with pro-democracy partners in deploying more than 1000 volunteers monitors across 45 counties.
“We have already been hearing troubling reports from our monitors, such as overly-long lines, not enough early voting hours, inadequate equipment at early voting sites, and students being turned away for inadequate ID” said Holden Cession, an organizer with the election protection effort. “If Pat McCroy and the state of North Carolina want to be true to their word and protect the integrity of the election, they must take immediate action and stop defending the monster voter suppression law in the courts, and follow the lead of other states like Oregon to pass laws such as automatic voter registration.”
A few days into the early voting process has revealed that the state is unable to adequately administer the new changes: We have seen:
- In Boone, NC, students waiting over two hours to try to squeeze into the Early Voting window which has no weekend or evening hours. In addition, high profile political operatives being unlawfully stationed inside polling locations.
- In Chapel Hill, students have been turned away for improper ID and not offered a Provisional ballot or ID impediment forms
- North Carolina State University students experiencing transportation barriers as Wake County failed to provide a single Early Voting site on or within walking distance of campus.
“These long lines are a symptom of the new voting law,” said Rachel Clay, the Western Election Protection field organizer with Ignite NC who witnessed Boone’s voting lines. “Watauga County cut every single evening and weekend Early Voting hour. We warned them that this would be the result. With decisions made to cut early voting, insufficiently staffing precincts, and requiring everyone to show ID, it is not surprising the lines piled up. While I am thrilled with the amount of students showing up to vote, I call on the state to do more.”
“During a highly contested presidential primary, and with several key local races on the March 15 ballot, we are right to question the impact of this new law and the intentions of Pat McCroy, who signed it,” said Irving Allen an organizer with Ignite NC. “It’s not a coincidence that we are seeing problems at precincts with high concentrations of young people and people of color.”
In the past three years, North Carolina’s General Assembly has amassed a well-documented history of suppressing dissent. In 2013 we saw the state illegally arrest and ban hundreds of people during the Moral Monday movement. Last month, four youth were arrested at a last-minute meeting of the UNC Board of Governors, for addressing a public body that has no process for public input.
Earlier this week, Lt. Governor Dan Forest announced the introduction of an Orwellian “Campus Free Expression Act” that would actually serve to put punitive limits on freedom of expression by students and faculty who dare to speak out against the austerity agenda of the current BOG and their hand-picked champion, the highly controversial appointee, Margaret Spellings.
Democracy requires that every person impacted by the laws and policies of the state have a voice in choosing their representatives. This law moves us in the opposite direction.
The NC Vote Defender Project encourages every eligible voter to cast a ballot on March 15 or during Early Voting.
Any voter who has questions about the new law, or trouble casting their ballot should call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-888-OUR VOTE, where legal experts will help them vote, provide non-partisan information, and document any instances of wrongdoing by the state.