Raleigh, NC - Four activists were arrested during a Wake County Board of Education meeting, June 15, as the struggle to stop the resegregation of Wake County schools intensifies. The civil disobedience action was carried out to protest a 5-4 vote by Wake County's majority conservative board to end Wake's busing program. The demonstrators locked arms and sang We Shall Overcome during the meeting. They were arrested when they did not stop.
North Carolina NAACP President Reverend William Barber was one of those arrested, along with Reverend Nancy Petty of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, activist Mary Williams and Timothy Tyson, a researcher at Duke Divinity School.
Wake County's new all-white school board majority, which came to power thanks to funding from right-wing foundations in the state, voted to terminate a pro-diversity busing policy in favor of keeping students in schools in their neighborhoods. This will lead to segregated schools and low quality, poorly-funded schools in communities of oppressed nationalities. Protesters have been waging a sharp struggle against this policy for months. On March 23, 70 students and youth marched on the board's meeting to demand an end to racism and resegregation efforts.
A statement from the North Carolina NAACP on the June 15 civil disobedience action said in part, ÂWe are willing to break a lesser law and accept our punishment in order to protect the larger law embodied in the federal and state constitutions and to defend the children of our community... If it is necessary that we be locked up to resist policies that will lock down our children in resegregated, high-poverty and unconstitutional schools, so be it.Â
The NAACP has played a leading role in opposing the resegregation scheme, along with a broad united front of progressive organizations and peoples in North Carolina. In a statement in March, the NAACP noted that the attempts at resegregation represent Âa clear call to our community - Black, White, Latino, Asian - to employ all the moral, political, and legal means at our disposal to stop it before itÂs too late.Â
June 17, 2010