STATEMENTS & RESOLUTIONS
UNC YD Statement on leaked draft overturning Roe v Wade
We are disgusted by the conservative majority of the Supreme Court’s apparent recent decision to overturn Roe v Wade. This backwards decision poses an existential threat to our right to abortion and our right to medical privacy. Let us be clear: abortions did not start with Roe v Wade nor will they end with it being overturned. Instead, many people will be forced to seek dangerous alternatives to safe abortion; many will be forced to carry ectopic and other life-threatening pregnancies to term; many will be subjected to abuse. This decision puts Black mothers, who die in childbirth at an exponentially higher rate than their white counterparts, at unnecessary risk. This decision puts people of color and the poor, who already face unnecessary boundaries to accessing safe abortion, at further risk. The Supreme Court’s decision subjects us to violence and will lead to the unnecessary deaths of women, transgender men, and non-binary people if they seek an abortion.
There is no doubt that Republican legislators have been actively working to dismantle our right to choose. The recent horrendous situations in Texas, Louisiana, and elsewhere are evidence of such. However, this is a massive institutional failure that also falls on the Democratic Party. For too long, we have allowed Republicans to continue down this dangerous trajectory and have relied on reactionary organizing where we advocate for issues after we have been threatened. We cannot continue down that path any longer. We need representatives in Congress and in our State Legislatures who are committed to codifying Roe v Wade and preserving abortion rights. We cannot sit idly by and watch our rights be dismantled around us. While we believe that voting is one of our strongest tools of resistance, begging people to vote for our party becomes a moot point when we cannot deliver on the promises we made. We have to show up for our neighbors and follow through on our promises or the dire state of our world will only get worse.
Now more than ever, it is imperative that we hold our elected officials to account. It is imperative that we organize for pro-choice candidates and against anyone who seeks to strip us of our rights. We need pro-choice district attorneys who will refuse to prosecute anyone seeking or obtaining an abortion. District attorneys and candidates should pledge to never seek prosecution for abortion. If they abstain or refuse, they are not worthy of support. We need judges and justices who will fight for us and fight against the ridiculous decision of the Supreme Court. If they will not fight for us, they are not worthy of our support. Our fight now lies in the NCGA. We must elect pro-choice legislators in North Carolina who will vote to uphold Governor Cooper’s veto. North Carolina is not Texas, but we very well could be soon.
This existential threat is terrifying and disheartening, but we must do what we can to build networks of support and uplift one another. It is important to remember that abortion is still legal. Now is not the time to panic- it is time to mobilize and organize. If you are so inclined, please consider donating to the Carolina Abortion Fund, which provides funds for abortions in North Carolina and South Carolina. Additionally, thirteen states have trigger laws where abortion will immediately become illegal if Roe v Wade is officially overturned. We have included links to some of those states’ abortion funds on the last page of this statement, and will add more as we find them to our Twitter feed.
The Executive Board of UNC Young Democrats would like to extend our congratulations to Nikole Hannah-Jones on her tenure appointment to UNC Chapel Hill. Hannah-Jones’ journalistic experience and exemplary work on the 1619 Project, which led to her earning a Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Fellowship, make her undoubtedly qualified for tenure, and we are glad the UNC Board of Trustees recognized that on Wednesday.
However, Hannah-Jones qualifications should never have been questioned. That they were is another glaring example of the hyper-politicization of public education in our state and emboldened racism. Once again, conservatives in our state politics chose to uplift their white supremacist agenda by means of censorship, blatant discrimination, and prioritizing whoever can write them the biggest check. It is an embarrassment to this state, our education system, and those that have dedicated their careers to studying the history of this country. Wednesday’s vote does not change that. Should Hannah-Jones choose to come to UNC, this university will benefit from her remarkable investigative research and her ability to teach us uncomfortable truths about ourselves.
During the Board of Trustees meeting to further discuss Hannah-Jones’ tenure, students were forcibly removed from the meeting after the board failed to communicate meeting procedure. In an unnecessary show of force, Black students were removed from the space without explanation as to why a closed session was necessary. This is unacceptable behavior from those meant to prioritize student safety. Granting tenure to Hannah-Jones does not erase the abuse of power shown on Wednesday, nor does it right this university’s long history of exploiting the work of black community members.
We would also like to highlight the Board of Trustees members that continued to deny Hannah-Jones her deserved tenure: John Preyer, Allie Ray McCullen, Dave Boliek and Haywood Cochrane. These members have no business making decisions on behalf of students and faculty here at UNC as they have demonstrated their utter lack of value for progress, academia, and inclusion. At an institution that claims to pride itself for groundbreaking education, these members’ titles are a joke. We would like to remind everyone that their presence on the UNC Board of Trustees is a result of the NC State Legislature Republicans’ many attempts to hold our state and its public school system hostage to their wants over students’ needs.
This university system has consistently shown that they do not value the voices of Black students, Black faculty, Black academics, and Black history. We stand in solidarity with Hannah-Jones and UNC’s Black students and faculty, and urge everyone to center their voices. Hannah-Jones would not have received tenure without the relentless efforts of the UNC Black Student Movement, UNC Black Caucus, or UNC Student Body President Lamar Richards. Richards is the sole student on the UNC Board of Trustees, and he is who petitioned for Wednesday’s meeting. We admire his unfailing leadership during this demoralizing time. Please support the UNC Black Student Movement and UNC Black Caucus by following their social media and contributing financially if you are able. We have included links to follow and donate to UNC Black Student Movement and UNC Black Caucus below this statement.
Nikole Hannah-Jones: Preorder The 1619 Project