The March 13 Journal column, “The Republican war against democracy,” by Byron Williams, deserves a thank-you. It is a clear description of a party without policies or programs that can only win elections by state legislatures passing sweeping voter-suppression laws. The column reminded me of the North Carolina voter suppression trial that began July 12, 2015, in Winston-Salem at the Hiram H. Ward Federal Building. The voter-suppression legislation was prompted by the 2013 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Section 4 required federal approval of any changes in state voting laws in nine states that included North Carolina.
Shortly after the overturn of Section 4, the N.C. Legislature immediately reduced the number of early voting days from 17 to 10, eliminated the policy that allowed registering to vote and casting a vote on the same day, established racially gerrymandered districts, and passed stringent ID requirements. The legislation was challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice, the state NAACP and the League of Women Voters.
The trial lasted for three weeks with Judge Thomas Schroeder presiding. Judge Schroeder ruled in favor of the state, and that decision was reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 2016 in Richmond, Va.
North Carolina has been proclaimed as the “First in Flight.” Now we can proudly brag about being the first in voter suppression, and, if given the chance, another Republican-controlled legislature will suppress again.
Charles Francis Wilson
Credit where it’s due
Regarding a letter published March 16 titled “Speaking of deleting ...,” the writer heaps thank-you’s on former “take credit for everything, responsibility for nothing” President Trump for giving us the COVID-19 vaccines.
History will note that President Obama, in 2013, released grants to drug companies to begin development of novel vaccines using mRNA technology. This is one reason the current vaccines were able to be released so quickly. Just so folks know.
Helping the homeless
I’ve read the Journal’s article on how the police shut down “Tent City,” where a lot of homeless people live. The officers say they had to shut it down because these people were trespassing on private property. So many people have been trespassing throughout Winston-Salem but do not get targeted by the police.
My problem in concern is not just with Winston-Salem but with other cities, such as Charlotte and Los Angeles. Why shut down Tent City if these people already do not have anywhere to go? They closed homeless shelters because of COVID-19, so where do you expect them to live?
The numbers of homeless people have increased during the pandemic due to people not having the money to pay for their rent. They are not able to afford the basic living necessities because many jobs were lost when COVID first started. How would you feel if you were in their shoes, not knowing when your next meal would be or where you are going to lay your head next?
A lot of organizations have been trying to give back to the homeless by feeding and providing them with things they may need such as hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, blankets, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Other organizations try to help homeless people find jobs if they are able to and to provide them with clothes for their interviews.
A shot of optimism
I received the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine on Sunday, March 14, in the mass vaccination event provided at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds by Wake Forest Baptist Health, Novant Health and the Forsyth County Health Department.
I was impressed by the excellent organization, warmth of the personnel and overall ease of the process. I was particularly impacted by the sight of multiple providers, staff and volunteers from the three sponsoring organizations working seamlessly together for our community’s highest good.