Earlier this year, North Carolina took a crucial step towards increasing police accountability and improving community-police relations when Rep. Rodney Moore of the NC House of Representatives filed The Prohibition of Discriminatory Profiling Bill (H193). Rep. Moore unveiled the proposed legislation last December alongside the state activists, community faith leaders, and NC Legislative Black Caucus members who had backed it. It would, among other things, prohibit any kind of discriminatory profiling by police officers, require newly hired law enforcement officials to attend cultural sensitivity training, create programs to collect data on traffic stops, homicides, and civilians killed by police, and allow for the creation of municipal citizen review boards to investigate alleged incidences of police misconduct. Since its introduction, various grassroots community organizations such as SAFE Coalition NC have been continuously organizing and lobbying for the bill’s passage in the NC General Assembly.
In May, SAFE held a well-attended Lobby Day in front of the NC General Assembly to demand that the state’s legislators take action. Unfortunately, the conservative-held General Assembly has so far ignored the people’s appeals to have H193 scheduled to be heard in the House Judiciary Committee, without which it cannot advance to be discussed on the floor for an official vote. To show that such obstruction would not be tolerated, SAFE organized a Virtual Lobby Day in support of the bill that took place on July 28th. Using the social media platform Thunderclap, which allows people to “donate” a tweet, Facebook status, Instagram post, or some combination of the three, SAFE’s Virtual Lobby Day gained approximately 280 supporters and was able to achieve a social media reach of more than 300,000 people.
On the morning of July 28th, Thunderclap simultaneously released hundreds of tweets and posts with the tagline #safefromprofiling to get the message trending and catch the attention of the NC Legislature. That same day, BORDC sent a reminder email to 680 activists in North Carolina urging them to call or email the Chairman of the NC State Judiciary Committee, Rep. Leo Daughtry, and ask him to schedule H193 to be heard and voted on. Robert Dawkins, the state coordinator for SAFE Coalition NC, gave an interview about the bill on the Joe Madison Sirius/XM radio show. The NC General Assembly has so far failed to respond to these efforts.