RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NAACP is announcing plans for an economic boycott of North Carolina to protest laws enacted by the state’s conservative General Assembly, including one limiting LGBT protections.
National President Cornell Brooks spoke Friday at a news conference in Raleigh.
In December, NAACP state leader the Rev. William Barber said he was seeking approval for a national boycott to pressure lawmakers over issues including the law known as House Bill 2. He also cited recent changes to the state elections board and the process for drawing electoral districts.
“We are serious. We are very serious about protecting civil rights,” Barber said Friday.
Previously, the NAACP held a 15-year economic boycott of South Carolina over the flying of the Confederate battle flag on Statehouse grounds. That boycott ended with the flag’s removal in 2015.
NAACP leaders said if things don’t change in the coming months, the boycott could go further.
The North Carolina Republican party says the NAACP is holding economic hostages in North Carolina.
“These are the folks that are willing to punish innocent North Carolinians because they don’t get their way when they want it,” said Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the N.C. GOP.
N.C. State University Economics Professor Mike Walden said a boycott could have a significant impact on North Carolina.
He says if people from elsewhere were to stop buying things made in North Carolina it could mean a loss of more than $200 billion a year.
“There’s a lot of money at risk. They could certainly have an impact. I think for the boycott organizers, again, the issue is getting people to follow through,” Walden said.
Republican Senate Leader Phil Berger said Friday that N.C. Governor Roy Cooper should condemn the actions of the NAACP.
Cooper’s office put out a statement saying Republican legislative leaders are the ones holding the state’s economy hostage until House Bill 2 is repealed.