Yesterday the U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to Governor Pat McCrory and one to the University of North Carolina system. The letters explain the Justice Department’s findings that HB2 “violates Title IX, which bars discrimination in education based on sex, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bans employment discrimination” and give McCrory until Monday to confirm “that the State will not comply with or implement HB2.”
So now we wait. We wait to see if McCrory can swallow his pride or if his discriminatory law that has already cost NC loss of revenue in the form of boycotts and job loss will cost us even more: our education funding.
And not just a little funding. The Charlotte Observer reported that this past year, our state public schools received $861 million dollars and the UNC system received 1.5 billion.
When I heard this, I had one moment of celebration followed by a feeling of dread that has settled in me. I would like to say that I’m sure a man who says that he is concerned about protecting children will not hurt them by allowing our schools to lose this money. But I am worried.
McCrory has issued a statement that addresses the department’s overreach and how the Obama administration has “has not only staked out its position for North Carolina, but for all states, universities and most employers in the U.S.” (the irony that that HB2 took away Charlotte’s rights to extend its anti-discrimination ordinance and the rights of other municipalities in the state to set their own minimum wage apparently lost on him). While the state will be “reviewing to determine the next steps,” I don’t think McCrory has anything to lose — he’s already joked about being in trouble and needing a new job — and more to gain in increased publicity. Bad attention is better than no attention, right?
Sometimes life appears to be scripted — a made-for-tv-movie — and the implementation of this law has been one of those times. It is so reminiscent of past mistakes in our history, so unbelievable that this is where we are, that it seems more like fiction. If that were the case, we could all relax and know that at the eleventh hour, the villain would have a change of heart, learn humility and selflessness, and renounce his evil plans.
But that isn’t the case and McCrory has given no indication that he will follow the script. Only two days ago, I wrote about the need for us to have a voice and now the importance of our actions is even more important. Now there is even more to lose.
Through HB2, McCrory has taken away the rights of LGBTQ people. He’s cost us jobs, art, and our dignity. Let’s urge him to leave us funding for our schools regardless of who can use which restroom.
Jennifer Brick is a freelance writer and former teacher in Durham, North Carolina. She earned her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College. Follow her on Twitter @jenbrickwrites.