Joel Ford: Economic boycott of N.C. would ‘punish working families’

Ford, a likely candidate in next year’s Charlotte mayoral race, said he would continue to work with state lawmakers to repeal HB2.
Joel Ford
Joel Ford

Joel Ford, a likely candidate in next year’s Charlotte mayoral race, said he opposes a plan by the North Carolina NAACP to seek an economic boycott of the state.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Ford said that while he’s “disappointed” that North Carolina’s Republican-controlled General Assembly didn’t vote to repeal House Bill 2, an economic boycott, he said, would “punish working families that depend upon the hospitality and tourism industry for work.”

He added: “I am prepared to continue to work by building trust among our local and state elected officials and working to repeal HB2.”

Neither of the other likely candidates for mayor – current Mayor Jennifer Roberts and Charlotte City Council member Vi Lyles – has made a public statement about a potential boycott.

Ford’s posted to Facebook came shortly after the Rev. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, said that he would ask the national NAACP to call for a national economic boycott of North Carolina in protest of recent actions taken by state lawmakers.

Barber, who was arrested last week while protesting at the State House, not only criticized the legislature’s failure to repeal HB2, he also attacked last week’s special sessions in which Republican lawmakers voted to sap power from incoming Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

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Barber said the state NAACP chapter would draft a letter to the group’s national board after Christmas asking it to consider ordering an economic boycott of the state.

“We did it in South Carolina when they raised the Confederate flag,” he said. “We must do it, we believe, as this new legislature is trying to raise a new Confederacy, in policy, right here in North Carolina.”

Barber also vowed to file a lawsuit alleging the legislature’s actions violated the U.S. Constitution, and he announced a Moral March on Raleigh scheduled for February 11.

If the national NAACP votes to approve a boycott, North Carolina could see African Americans across the nation shifting their vacation and convention plans to other states, much as they did when the NAACP voted to boycott South Carolina over the Confederate flag that once flew over the South Carolina State House.

Earlier this month, Ford announced that he would form an exploratory committee to consider challenging Roberts, a fellow Democrat, who is in her first term as Charlotte’s mayor. Lyles, also a Democrat, also has formed an exploratory committee.

Glenn Burkins
Glenn is founder and publisher of Qcitymetro.com. He's worked at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and Charlotte Observer.
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