SALISBURY — Local NAACP President Scott Teamer said his organization will begin a voter registration drive in coming days to counter new voter ID laws.
At a press conference at Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church on Wednesday, Teamer and a host of local clergy, students and community activists spoke out against recent state legislation that would require photo identification to vote.
“We want to see our representatives represent the good of the whole and not just a few,” Teamer said. “We’re asking the faith community — and we’re grateful they’re here today — we’re asking a representative from each church to speak out and pass along the legislature and the policies that affect all of God’s people.”
Teamer, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Rowan-Salisbury chapter, said he hopes organizing the town’s parishioners will be a starting point for the NAACP’s voter registration drive.
Senior Pastor Dr. C.L. Phelps of Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church on South Caldwell Street hosted the brief press conference Wednesday.
Phelps said he is honored to host a second NAACP meeting today at 6 p.m. at the church.
“I want to say to you that we will become the watchdogs of our community,” Phelps said. “We want to stand for justice and we want to stand against injustice.”
Local NAACP Vice President William C. Peoples Jr. lambasted the county’s state delegates who, he said, haven’t looked out for the community’s struggling residents.
“They’ve taken advantage of our vote. Our vote will not be given freely. We’re upset with what has happened,” the Salisbury City Council candidate said. “You have promised jobs. There’s no jobs that’s been brought to Rowan County. As a matter of fact, you’ve taken advantage of the citizens of Rowan County by imposing legislation that cuts unemployment, because just as many people are unemployed as when you went there. So what have you done for me lately?”
The Rev. Olen Bruner, pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church, also spoke at the conference.
Following his remarks, he told the Post that North Carolina communities must get involved if they want change.
“There’s a need to organize local. Our misunderstandings that exist in the North Carolina legislature with regards to what is considered progress and the local community — the only way to effectively change anything is to educate people,” Bruner said. “And through their education, solicit their vote. It’s a well-known axiom that if you’re not for me, then you’re against me. Change is necessary.”
Three Livingstone College students — Anna Kay Edwards, Hillman Evans IV and Shari Albury — also spoke at the conference.
The trio said N.C. Rep. Harry Warren’s Voter ID legislation will make it more difficult for out-of-state students at private colleges to vote.
Evans, a senior in sports management, said the senate’s removal of a provision that would allow private college student IDs makes it tough on students that could previously register to vote in Salisbury.
“Most students are not from this area, so when we came here, we were still expecting to vote,” Evans said. “We live here, you know? We live here 10 months out of the year.”
The NAACP invites any interested parties to attend today’s meeting at 719 South Caldwell Street at 6 p.m.
Anyone with questions is asked to call the Salisbury-Rowan NAACP chapter office at 704-645-9906.