Open Letter: "The Prosecutor Ought to Be a Minister of Justice; Not Merely Seek Convictions.”

March 24, 2016
 
Attorney General Roy Cooper
Hand-Delivered
Old Education Building
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001
 
Dear Attorney General Cooper:
                                                                                                                                
Today, Maundy Thursday, is a day in the Christian Tradition associated with repentance.  It commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus, just before he was betrayed, wrongfully arrested and prosecuted, and then executed. This horrific act of injustice led to Easter morning, when hundreds of millions of people celebrate the reversal of the wrongful conviction and the resurrection of the innocent Jesus.
 
So it is fitting and proper that today we call on your office to do justice in the cases of Dontae Sharpe and Kalvin Michael Smith, two men who have spent over half their lives imprisoned unjustly.  It is in the power of the Office of the Attorney General to show leadership in these cases.  As officers of the court, you and your staff have the ethical responsibility of ministers of justice and not simply that of an advocate; your duty is to seek justice, not merely to convict.
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An Open Letter: In Love and Sadness on the Passing of Our Brother

To North Carolinians on the side of truth and justice, members of the media, family and friends of the movement, 

Re: The Passing of Our Brother Darryl Hunt

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This weekend North Carolina lost one of her foremost freedom fighters in the passing of Dr. Darryl Hunt. I along with the North Carolina NAACP family lost not only a freedom fighter, but also a former colleague, brother and friend. The state robbed Darryl of 19 years of his life by imprisoning him for a rape and murder he did not commit. The case goes down in infamy as one of the most thoroughly corrupt episodes in the saga of the deeply racist criminal justice system in our state. However, in his twelve short years out of prison, Darryl accomplished more good in the world than most can hope to in a lifetime.

Those who heard Darryl speak, or worked with him in the grassroots, know that Darryl made sure his bondage was not in vain. In addition to committing his time and resources to building the Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice, where he worked with hundreds of formerly incarcerated men and women, and fought for the exoneration of others falsely imprisoned, he also led a life of prophetic witness to the rampant racism in police departments, district attorney’s offices and the courts.

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Darryl was there in 2009 to push through the Racial Justice Act, which the North Carolina NAACP and our HKonJ partners count as one of the greatest legislative victories for criminal justice in recent history. In 2010, he joined the staff of the North Carolina NAACP as the founder and director of the Anti-Death Penalty Project. He helped lead our efforts to defend the RJA as long as possible so that the cases could get into court before the extremists in the General Assembly gutted and repealed the bill. When the damning report on the practices of intentional perjury emerged out of the SBI labs, Darryl traveled the state on our behalf educating the branches and communities on the “Swecker Report”. He led court “jury watches” during capital trials where we know black jurors are struck from the rolls at disproportionate rates. Ever since his first plenary in 2010, we’ve always reserved a spot for Darryl to speak at our State Convention.

And none of this is to mention his role as a national leader in innocence projects and movements. For his work, Duke University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2012.

Darryl was a wounded healer in the greatest sense. I can remember him often saying that he has forgiven those who put him in jail when they knew he was innocent, but he has not forgotten. For Darryl, it was a spiritual matter. He would say that he did not know how to ask others or God for forgiveness if he was not willing to forgive those who imprisoned him. He was not going to let them imprison him again with bitterness. And neither would he let them keep him from fighting for justice.

Darryl traveled the nation and the world with his witness that injustice does not have the last word. For a generation of activists, Darryl was hope incarnate. Justice was his calling. Courage and love was his answer. We pledge to you brother Darryl, that your spirit lives on in each of us. Those you touched will touch others and others as we keep our hands on the freedom plow. Let it be so. 

                                            
In Sadness and A Deepening Love for Justice, 

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, President of NC NAACP

Al McSurely, Former Legal Redress Chair, NC NAACP

Rob Stephens, Former Associate Director, NC NAACP Anti-Death Penalty Project

NC NAACP Staff, Executive Committee, Branch Leaders, Members and Partners in the Forward Together Moral Fusion Movement


Moral March to the Polls

March to the Polls and vote early with the Our Time Our Vote campaign!

Davidson County

Saturday, March 12th at 11:00 AM | Gather at the parking lot across the street from the Davidson Co Board of Elections

 

Forsyth County

Saturday, March 12th 

Contact Linda Sutton for more information at lindasutton@democracy-nc.org

 

Lenoir County

Saturday, March 12th at 10:00 AM | Gather at Vernon Park Mall, 834 Hardee Rd, Kinston

Contact Dave McKenna for more information at mckend3@gmail.com

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#OurTimeOurVote Souls to the Polls Training

The North Carolina NAACP and Democracy North Carolina invite your faith center to join hundreds of others across North Carolina in an unprecedented faith-based, non-partisan Souls to the Polls voter engagement campaign as part of the state-wide It's Our Time, It's Our Vote GOTV campaign in 2016. At 1:30 p.m. on February 13th, following the Moral March on Raleigh & HKonJ People's Assembly, we will train people on how to become "Faith Ambassadors" and lead voter registration, education, mobilization, and protection campaigns in their faith centers. You will be sent the training location after you register. It will be in walking distance from the Moral March on Raleigh.

Souls to the Polls Training Registration

If you are not a member of a faith community, but still want to get involved with the It's Our Time, It's Our Vote campaign in your community, email forwardtogether@naacpnc.org and we will connect you with your local GOTV committee. Write "Our Time Our Vote" in the email subject line. 

If you are a part of a faith community that cannot attend the training on February 13th but still want to join the Souls to the Polls campaign, click here.


Closing Arguments of the Voter ID Trial

The closing arguments of the NC NAACP v. McCrory trial covering the Voter ID portion of the voter suppression law will happen tomorrow, Monday, February 1st. Please join us in Winston-Salem! The day will begin at 9:30 a.m. but you can show up late. Closing arguments will probably begin in the early afternoon.

US Federal Court 
251 N Main St. Winston-Salem, NC

No electronics are allowed in the Federal Court building so make sure you leave your phone in your car. You will also be asked to show ID before you enter the building. 



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