2017: A year of momentum in the fight for reform

From the effort to end gerrymandering, to building the next generation of our state's leaders, we look back at a year of grassroots power in North Carolina.

RALEIGH – From the fight to end gerrymandering, to defending voting rights and empowering the next generation of North Carolina’s leaders, 2017 has been a momentous year of grassroots action thanks to citizens across the state standing together with a shared vision of building a democracy for all.

The movement to end gerrymandering gains strength

House Bill 200: A plan for fair redistricting – On the final day of February, we stood with a bipartisan group of state lawmakers as they introduced House Bill 200. The measure would take redistricting power out of the hands of legislators and instead give it to an independent body that would draw North Carolina’s congressional and legislative voting maps free from partisan politics.

Citizens Lobby Day to End Gerrymandering – The day after House Bill 200 was introduced, over 600 citizens from across the state came to the NC General Assembly to voice their support for fair redistricting.

Thousands sign petition to end gerrymandering – In April, Common Cause NC members delivered to NC House Speaker Tim Moore a petition signed by thousands of North Carolinians calling for passage of HB200.

A People’s Hearing on Fair Redistricting – In June, 150 citizens came to Raleigh from throughout North Carolina, packing a committee room on the 6th floor of the Legislative Office Building to do what legislative leaders refused to – hold a public hearing on HB200 and nonpartisan redistricting.

End Gerrymandering Fun Run – Nearly 100 North Carolinians braved the scorching July heat for our End Gerrymandering Fun Run, dashing along a gerrymandered legislative district and stopping by the General Assembly to show their support for HB200 and ending gerrymandering.

Taking gerrymandering to court – In October, our potentially landmark lawsuit against partisan gerrymandering moved forward, with the case of Common Cause v. Rucho heard by a three-judge panel at a federal courthouse in Greensboro. A decision in the suit is likely to come early in 2018 and could be key to ending gerrymandering in North Carolina and across the nation.

Fair Maps Town Hall tour – Our CCNC team has been traveling across the state, making stops in Greenville, Hendersonville and Fayetteville for town hall meetings with citizens to build grassroots support for solutions to gerrymandering. More stops on the tour are coming in 2018.

Empowering the next generation of North Carolina’s leaders

Thousands pack Raleigh for Moral March – Our CCNC Democracy Fellows were among the thousands of citizens that converged in Raleigh for the HKonJ Moral March in February to defend voting rights and equal access to the polls.

HBCU Lobby Day – That same month, our Democracy Fellows organized a lobby day with students from seven historically black colleges and universities coming to Raleigh to directly speak with lawmakers about the importance of HBCUs in North Carolina.

Democracy Fellows go to Washington – In April, our Democracy Fellows traveled to Capitol Hill to serve as a voice for HBCU students in the halls of Congress.

A&T students speak out against gerrymandering – In September, students at NC A&T State University, including our Democracy Fellow Braxton Brewington, spoke out against gerrymandered voting maps crafted by the legislature that split A&T into two different congressional districts, diluting the voting power of that HBCU campus community.

HBCU students vote local – With marches to the polls, get-out-the-vote rallies and phone banking, our Democracy Fellows were hard at work this fall to encourage their classmates to cast a ballot in local elections. Our fellows also engaged the communities around their campuses by distributing thousands of copies of our nonpartisan voter guide, giving residents info on candidates and facts on voting locally this year.

Moving forward in the year ahead

2017 has seen citizens make their voices heard in the halls of the legislature, in the courts and within their communities. In the year ahead, it will take a continued movement of people across the state working together to end gerrymandering, defend voting rights and empower the next generation of North Carolina’s leaders.

But we need your support to make that happen. Please consider making a donation to our work and join the cause of building a democracy for all.