CommunityPam's House Blend

Obama wins NC!

Finally, my state officially turned Blue on the map!  We haven't gone Blue since Jimmy Carter won in 1976.

President-elect Obama has won North Carolina, a symbolic triumph in a state that hadn't voted for a Democrat in more than a generation.

The Associated Press declared Obama the winner Thursday after canvassing counties in North Carolina to determine the number of outstanding provisional ballots. That survey found that there are not enough remaining ballots for Republican John McCain to close a 13,693-vote deficit.

The 15 electoral votes now give our president-elect a total of 364. Triangle-area turnout was amazing (look at these turnout statistics for my county – Durham – 76%). The enormous registration drive and the ground effort to get people out early to vote was incredibly successful. From NC BOE:

Registered Voters:  6,262,566
Ballots Cast:  4,321,001
Voter Turnout:  69.00 %

Here is a map of turnout by county (many 70%-80%):

I expected NC to pull this off; so many of my progressive blogger folks outside of the South were skeptical that it could be done. I kept telling them that the record number of new registered voters would turn out. And they did, during early voting. On election day, there were no long lines at the polling places I went by. Most of the votes were already in the can. We're celebrating what this means:

“I consider it one of the most dramatic events in my lifetime of watching politics in North Carolina,” said Bill Friday, the 88-year-old president emeritus of the University of North Carolina. “It is a turning point in the history of the state. It is one that reflects the growth and development of North Carolina.”

As part of the Old Confederacy, North Carolina had a legacy of slavery and segregation. But it has been regarded since the 1940s as one of the most moderate states in the South on race issues. And it is a state that has undergone rapid Sunbelt growth in recent decades, with millions of new residents moving here from around the country.

More  after the jump.

Julius Chambers, a 72-year-old Charlotte lawyer, knew the violence well. As a young civil rights attorney, Chambers' Charlotte home was bombed in 1965, his car was bombed in New Bern the same year, and his law office was firebombed in 1971. He would later become head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and chancellor of N.C. Central University in Durham.

Chambers said Wednesday he did not expect to see a black man elected president in his lifetime. He said it speaks well of his native state that it voted for Obama.

“It's says to me we are abandoning the old ways we have been doing things — reluctantly,” Chambers said. “We are like the rest of the country. We can accept people without respect to race or color. We are making progress.”

We also had some state wins that show progress on the LGBT front. Here is the news from EqualityNC:

North Carolinians elected a governor who has expressed unprecedented support for equal rights. Equality NC looks forward to working with Governor Beverly Perdue to get basic fairness for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. She will be joined by our next Lt. Governor, Walter Dalton. We're proud of Dalton, who hasn't always been an ally but has grown to become a real friend and advocate for equal rights.

All of our PAC's endorsed incumbent legislators were re-elected, including openly gay Sen. Julia Boseman. Once again New Hanover County voters looked beyond her sexual orientation and the personal attacks to re-elect a state senator who has ably and effectively represented her district. Unfortunately great challengers like Al Swanstrom, Ed Ridpath and Wade Boyles were unsuccessful in their runs against anti-equality incumbents.

Our friends Attorney General Roy Cooper, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, and Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson were returned to office, and will be joined on the Council of State by two people who've been allies in the legislature, with Janet Cowell as Treasurer and Wayne Goodwin as Commissioner of Insurance.

The race that makes a happy day in North Carolina bittersweet for us is John Arrowood's loss in his bid to return to the Court of Appeals; North Carolinians missed out on a chance to elect a great Judge. He faced a very difficult race, running against an opponent with the same name as a respected current member of the Court. We are proud of John and his campaign, and proud that our state did not make John's sexual orientation an issue in this campaign.

…Here in North Carolina, the election gives us a real chance for making progress, passing the School Violence Prevention Act, and continuing to hold back the nasty constitutional amendments like those that have passed in other states. We know that our margins are small and it won't happen without a lot of hard work, but we can do it together. Across the country, our sister organizations will continue to pass non-discrimination laws and secure marriage equality state by state.

By the way, the 2008 Equality Conference & Gala is on November 15, and last year's was a great success. The full schedule is here — and you can still register to attend the conference and the gala at the Nasher Museum in Durham. 

Click on the session name for a description.

In what is a timely development, I'll be on the panel “Building People of Color LGBT Visibility, with Mandy Carter and Alexander Robinson.

Building People of Color LGBT Visibility

LGBT people of color have always been part of our North Carolina LGBT community.  Yet, the visible LGBT community that is usually seen, both in activist and  advocacy representation, is over-represented by white gay men and lesbians. How does our community bring people of color “out  of the closet?” Is there a way to reach LGBTs of color in social  settings to  encourage to participate in “out” activism? What are the barriers in  communication and reaching that comfort zone  between establishment  organizations and the average person of  color who, for whatever reason, may be reticent to be out. Can we establish a North Carolina statewide LGBT People Of Color network? Can we have a stronger LGBT POC presence in the advocacy work of Equality North Carolina?


Mandy Carter – A long-time North Carolina black lesbian social justice activist, Mandy Carter is Co-Founder of Southerners On New Ground and the National Black Justice Coalition, and served this year as one of the five Obama Pride National Co-Chairs. 2008 wraps up her celebrating 40 years of social, racial, and LGBT justice organizing since 1968.

Alexander Robinson – H. Alexander Robinson, MBA is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Black Justice Coalition, and president of NBJC Action Fund. NBJC is the nation’s black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. A former CPA and corporate executive, Robinson has a long history as a public policy analyst and commentator. Robinson is President of Robinson & Foster and spent three years as an independent political strategist and communications specialist for a wide variety of public interest groups and candidates including the NAACP, National Urban League, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. From 1990-1996 Mr. Robinson was the senior congressional lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union Gay and Lesbian Rights and AIDS Projects. Mr. Robinson also served as the Deputy Executive Director for the National Minority AIDS Council. The recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, Robinson served on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS in the Clinton administration.

Our keynoters will be Kate Kendall (National Center for Lesbian Rights), Mara Keisling (Executive Director of NCTE) and Alexander Robinson. What a line up!

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding