Your letters, Aug. 25: Domestic violence, Tar Heel hero, Voter ID and Israel

August 23, 2013 

When domestic abuse escalates

We are a few weeks shy of October – a time that thousands rally together and promote “Domestic Violence Awareness Month.” As news of a 48-year old Chapel Hill woman being charged with murder surfaces (CHN, Aug. 9, bit.ly/17Q7Qya), it’s crucial that we begin a conversation and understand the consequential outcomes of domestic violence.

According to the N.C. Council for Women, for the past five years, more than 1,000 calls have been placed to police dispatchers in Orange County related to domestic-violence incidents, while less than 500 individuals sought out services.

In July 2012, Michelle McClinton of Chapel Hill filed a domestic violence protective order against her boyfriend. In October, she filed a motion to set aside the court order, despite her boyfriend’s violent criminal history. Friends and family of McClinton were aware of the couple’s abusive relationship. Last week, McClinton stabbed her boyfriend to death and is being charged with first-degree murder.

McClinton’s story is just one of many in our county that proves abuse can escalate to the point where retaliation, or sometimes defense, occurs and the victim is then engaged in a crime. In 2012, there were 122 total domestic violence related homicides, seven of which involved a party that had received protective orders from a court.

It is important to discuss domestic violence in the public sphere and seek out resources to help others. Compass Center for Women and Families offers domestic violence crisis services, including support groups and a 24-hour crisis hotline: 919-929-7122. If you or someone you know may be experiencing abuse, we are here to listen and lend support.

Ann J. Gerhardt, MPH

Executive director

Compass Center for Women and Families

Chapel Hill

Tar Heel hero

We commend and honor Sen. Kinnaird’s rich tenure in the North Carolina Senate.

Throughout her 17 years of service in the Senate, and previous service as the mayor of Carrboro, Sen. Kinnaird has been a champion for jobs, education, the environment, women, and building community. We know Sen. Kinnaird will devote her time and voice to electing Democrats in the 2013 local elections and help fight for Senator Hagan and all Democrats in 2014.

Most importantly, it illustrates the character of Sen. Kinnaird to devote her time and energy to ensuring North Carolinians have the resources they need to cast a ballot in our state. This is the mark of a true Tar Heel hero.

Randy Voller

Chairman

N.C. Democratic Party

Unduly burdened

The N.C. A. Philip Randolph Institute, League of Women Voters of North Carolina, and several individual voters have filed a lawsuit challenging the photo ID requirement of North Carolina’s voter suppression law signed by Gov. Pat McCrory.

The suit specifically targets provisions that require a state-issued photo ID to cast a ballot. These provisions create a new qualification for voters not already contained in the N.C. Constitution, they unduly burden the right to vote and they discriminate against African-American voters, all in violation of the North Carolina Constitution.

In January of 2013, the State Board of Elections released a study that revealed that more than 600,000 registered voters lack photo ID. The board matched voter registration records against DMV records and found that as many as 612,955 voters could not be matched with a DMV-issued drivers’ license or photo ID card. The General Assembly itself estimated in a note to H.B. 589, an earlier version of the voter ID law, that between 232,502 and 364,393 voters will lack acceptable photo ID by 2017. These estimates are between 3.6 percent and 5.6 percent of North Carolina’s registered voters.

One of the plaintiffs, Alberta Currie, is the great-granddaughter of slaves. She, her parents and her children all worked picking cotton and tobacco in the fields of Robeson County. She is the mother of seven, 78 years old and does not have a birth certificate because she was born at home. She has voted consistently since she first became eligible to vote in 1956. She does not have a photo ID and cannot obtain one in North Carolina without a birth certificate. She and her family consider it a matter of personal dignity to be able to go in person and vote. According to Alberta Currie, “my mother always told me not to miss a voting day. If I can’t vote in person like everyone else it wouldn’t feel fair; it would seem like my vote didn’t count.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of several North Carolinians who will face substantial hardship under the law. All of the plaintiffs are represented by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and the individual plaintiffs are also represented by Press Millen.

The case, Alberta Currie et al. v. North Carolina, was filed in Orange County Superior Court on August 13, 2013.

Anita Earls

Southern Coalition for Social Justice

Durham

Foul dealings

On Monday, Aug. 12, Gov. Pat McCrory signed the “Voter Suppression Act of 2013” in what was called a “private ceremony.”

That afternoon I heard a reporter interview the governor, asking him why he felt this action was needed when studies have shown that there is an extremely low incidence of voter fraud. The governor’s reply was that “We haven’t found fraud because we haven’t looked for it. If we looked for it, we would find it.”

That reply defies logic. How can the governor possibly know that rampant fraud exists if he or anyone else has never looked for it?

Academics have studied elections and found very little evidence of fraud, but the Republican Party knows that there is fraud? The only conclusion I can draw is that “he who smelt it dealt it,” as we used to say when we were kids. The Republicans know that there was election fraud because that’s the only way they could have been elected in such numbers as to control our state government.

Shame on you.

Don DeJong

Durham

Dangerously wrong

When Miriam and Larry Slifkin write that Fatah and Hamas leaders require their followers to “kill all the Jews” (CHN, Aug. 14, bit.ly/1dzMfPj), they are dangerously wrong.

Fatah accepted the two-state solution in 1988, thus recognizing Israel. It affirmed that commitment at its most recent convention in August 2009. HAMAS has both supported and at different times rejected a two-state solution, but as The Times of Israel reported earlier this month, HAMAS recently created a 600-man force to work 24/7 to prevent more militant groups from firing rockets into southern Israel.

Since neither Fatah nor HAMAS is like Hitler, getting that comparison into the newspaper as peace negotiations start again looks like an attempt to undermine a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestinians. That can’t be good for the Jews that the Slifkins seem to want to protect. Making it harder for Americans to accept peace makes Israelis less safe.

Judith Ferster

Chapel Hill

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