End Gerrymandering Now

News of Orange County

Posted: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 1:04 pm

I am Allison Mahaley and I am a local President of a chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. I am here to call the North Carolina General Assembly out for perpetrating fraud and deceit on the good people of North Carolina, and to remind them that just because you can do something does not mean you should. I am fearful of what they have done to our democracy. The entire electoral process has been exposed as racist and you, North Carolina General Assembly, hold your offices illegally. I have seen you use your ill-gotten power to try and ruin our public schools.

This very thing is what personally drew me out of the classroom and into activism. I watched as they siphoned money from schools to pay for religious schools – many that openly indoctrinate students to a fear of hell, bigotry against gay people, and who knows what else because they are exempt from oversight. They did this because they had the power to do it even though the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians find the idea of state sponsored religion abhorrent. And yet, they got re-elected because of the way districts are drawn.

Politicians choosing their voters instead of voters choosing their politicians have made checking their power nearly impossible. The Supreme Court ruled that these districts are unconstitutional, and yet they keep bringing legislation to limit voting rights and dilute the voting power of African-Americans and progressives in our state. All of this is enough to cause so many to lose faith in our democracy and seek alternative means for justice.

But those of us who have seen this obscenity before have a better plan – we are getting organized. We are taking to the churches, and to the gyms, and to mother’s playgroups, cafes, and social media. We are organizing our power to make them listen. I have been out there on the streets going door to door in the heat and in the rain talking to Democrats and Independents and Republicans –let me tell you this – North Carolinians want fair maps – until you put the power back in the hands of the people and listen to us we will not stop.

We want fair maps that comply with the Voting Rights Act. We want an end to gerrymandering. We want a balance of power. We will not say good-bye to our freedoms. We will keep fighting in the voting booths. We will fight in the courts. And if we have to, we will fight in the streets until we win.

This is not complicated. End gerrymandering now and give us a non-partisan redistricting commission that we can trust to draw fair maps. The world is watching.