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Coalition at historically black North Carolina Central University opposes marriage discrimination amendment

This is big news here in North Carolina, as a coalition at a flagship educational institution, based in Durham, has released a strong letter of support for the effort to defeat an amendment that would write discrimination into our state constitution.

North Carolina Central University is one of the 105 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States. That includes public and private, two-year and four-year institutions, medical schools and community colleges. A bit of history:

Originally named the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua for the Colored Race, NCCU was founded by Dr. James E. Shepard, a pharmacist and religious educator. The institution was chartered in 1909 and opened its doors to students in 1910. In the following years, the school’s name became the National Training School in 1915, Durham State Normal School in 1923, North Carolina College for Negroes in 1925 (when it became the nation’s first state-supported liberal arts college for African-American students), North Carolina College at Durham in 1947, and finally North Carolina Central University in 1969. NCCU has been a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina System since 1972.

This letter urged the NCCU Student Government Association to join the coalition of students, staff, and faculty opposing the amendment’s nod to bigotry:

January 24, 2012

NCCU Senate
North Carolina Central University
1801 Fayettevill Street
Durham, NC 27707

Dear Senators:

It is with great pleasure we the members of the Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Empowerment Committee, Pollychrome, and other NCCU faculty and staff write this letter in support of COLORS, D.O.M.S., and Outlaw student organizations’ efforts to have NCCU Student Government Association pass a resolution to oppose the North Carolina Marriage Amendment. All of the aforementioned groups are advocacy organizations committed to creating and sustaining an environment here at NCCU where everyone is appreciated and welcomed. Furthermore, we seek to expand on the work of Dr. James E. Sheppard, founder of North Carolina Central University, by increasing awareness of discriminatory practices on campus and in the community, working to eliminate all forms of injustices, and bringing the community together to work toward a common good.

We applaud the efforts of the students to make the NCCU, local, regional, and national communities aware that writing discrimination into the North Carolina State Constitution serves to take away the civil rights of all of us. As Rev. Dr. William Barber states in his Open letter to All North Carolininas “placing a couple of sentences in our most important state document that deny rights to some persons, but which are extended to others, is dangerous and unnecessary…”

We implore NCCU students to join your peers in COLORS, D.O.M.S., and Outlaw student organizations, to rise above the baggage that keeps us from recognizing and ending discrimination, and pass the resolution to oppose the marriage amendment. We are here to support you in in bringing the truth to anyone who will listen.



Members of the Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Empowerment Committee, Pollychrome, and NCCU faculty and staff

It cannot be underscored how much this means for the alliance and intersection of groups that are standing tall in opposition to this amendment. NCCU, which has a diverse student population these days, is a point of pride in the Bull City, and for good reason:

  • For more than 100 years, the university has educated the citizens of North Carolina, the United States and the world.
  • U.S. News & World Report has ranked NCCU as the No. 1 public historically black college or university for two years in a row.
  • U.S. News & World Report has ranked our School of Law as one of the nation’s 10 “most popular” law schools in the country. The listing is based on an analysis of admission yield — the percentage of students accepted by a school who choose to enroll.
  • With two biotechnology research institutes, NCCU is emerging as a leader in the study of health disparities — significant differences in the quality of health and health care across racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
  • NCCU’s award-winning marching band, the Marching Sound Machine, was selected to perform on New Year’s Day 2011 in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
  • NCCU was the first of North Carolina’s state-supported universities to require community service for graduation. Last year, NCCU students performed service to the community valued at more than $2 million.
  • In 2010, NCCU returned to NCAA Division I athletic competition as a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).

It would be great to see other Triangle-area student/faculty coalitions go all-in and address the out-of-control forces of discrimination (see deranged rent-a-pastor Patrick Wooden, for one), that are using discredited fear-and-smear tactics to rile up support for the amendment.


In related news, this weekend kicks off the Race to the Ballot, which means that Jen Jones, a staffer from the campaign, will begin her run across the entire state to spark conversations about why Amendment One will take away protections from children, couples, and families. From Jamie Hahn,  Campaign Finance Director of Race to the Ballot:

In order to support Jen, and to raise the money that we need to fight back, we are holding fundraisers in every region of the state.

In recent days, many of you have asked how you can support the campaign to Protect ALL NC Families. To make sure that we have every vote we need to win on May 8, we must have 1,000,000 conversations across North Carolina. Jen is running across the state to start these conversations, and she needs your help.

Please support Jen and the campaign at one of the following events:

Support Race to the Ballot in ASHEVILLE:
January 28
Tressa’s- 28 Broadway
7-9 pm
Click here for more details and ticket information

Support Race to the Ballot in CHARLOTTE:
February 11
At the home of Rep. Tricia Cotham and Jerry Meek
6-8 pm
Click here for more details and ticket information

Support Race to the Ballot in SALISBURY:
February 12
At the home of Lee Piper 6-8 pm

Click here for more details and ticket information

Support Race to the Ballot in WINSTON SALEM:

February 13
At the home of Frank Benedetti and Gary Trowbridge
6-8 pm
Click here for more details and ticket information

Support Race to the Ballot in GREENSBORO:
February 14
1618 Wine Lounge
5-7 pm
Click here for more details and ticket information


If you do not live in one of these cities, you can get involved from your own couch by starting a grassroots fundraising page. You can raise money from your own network and help us defeat this amendment today.


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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding