By Angella Bellota
When legislators introduced HB 217 last week at the North Carolina General Assembly, your quick response to stand in solidarity with North Carolina youth and families slowed down the bill!
HB 217, would throw children as young as 13 into the adult criminal justice system and remove judicial oversight. If this bill were to pass, it would give prosecutors complete discretion over the future of NC children and strip juvenile court judges’ of their decision making power – the only neutral and unbiased decision maker in transfer cases.
Within a matter of days, here is what YOU were able to accomplish:
In less than two days, over 400 of you signed the petition started by NC youth leaders calling a stop to HB 217. This means that each of the fourteen members on the committee received over 400 emails urging them to oppose section 7, of HB 217.
Along with your calls and direct messages to friends, family and networks we not only flooded their phone lines but also their inboxes! Youth leaders also took action through social media, and the word to attend the hearing spread like wildfire. On the morning of the hearing, you were able to pack the room!
NC allies received an overwhelming amount of support from youth, students, advocates, faith leaders, attorneys and judges. Your presence is making it clear -- Our communities will not stand by and allow ineffective proposals to further criminalize youth!
The fight is not over!
We can expect the committee to most likely reconvene on Wednesday, April 3rd. We were informed that the committee will reconvene once the NC Advocates for Justice and others have a chance to meet with representatives from the Conference of District Attorneys the first week of April.
North Carolina allies are asking everyone to continue to put pressure on the decision makers involved on this bill. The primary sponsor, Rep. Stam has requested feedback and comments, and below you will find ways to continue to have your voice heard:
· Each time someone signs the petition, bit.ly/NOHB217 the committee members receive a message urging them to oppose HB 217. If you have already signed, please take the next 30 seconds to share it through email and on social media! Help NC reach 500 signatures!
Make plans to attend the hearing next week. We will continue to share details with you as soon as we get them.
We are excited to be a partner in North Carolina. Join us in showing your support by sharing this alert with your networks!