Press Release • March 17, 2023

Equality North Carolina Condemns Passing of Anti-Protest Bill HB 40

For Immediate Release

Alainna Liloia | Equality NC | Nate Fischer | Equality NC |

RALEIGH – Today, Governor Cooper allowed HB 40, a bill which attacks the right to protest, to become law. The bill will increase criminal penalties for so-called "rioting."

We're deeply disappointed and angered by the passage of this bill. The right to protest is crucial for all of our movements. HB 40 curtails our freedom of speech by imposing draconian penalties on protestors.

The bill, which will disproportionately harm Black and Brown communities, was introduced on the first day of Black History Month. The bill followed protests across the nation demanding justice for the police killing of Tyre Nichols. Here in North Carolina, the bill was introduced in the wake of Darryl Tyree Williams' violent killing by police.

The bill is effectively a mass incarceration bill that will endanger Black, Brown and Indigenous lives. The bill is designed to stifle protests for racial justice, using coded language to discredit these movements as "violent" and re-frame protests as "rioting."

With police violence repeatedly targeting the Black community, it is vital that we have the right to protest injustices. We stand in solidarity with the communities most impacted by this bill and will continue to fight for Black liberation in North Carolina and beyond.

ENC Organizing Director Eliazar Posada (he/him) said:

I am deeply disheartened by the passing of HB 40 into law. This bill is a direct attack on our first amendment rights and a threat to our democracy. The bill will cause irreparable harm to Black, Brown and Indigenous communities. Legislators should be working to end police violence, not inflicting penalties on those who protest it. We urge our allies and our legislators to speak out against racial injustices and to join us in condemning this harmful legislation.

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Equality North Carolina builds LGBTQ+ power through advocacy, education, and uplifting the stories of queer and trans North Carolinians in pursuit of racial and social justice.

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