Forty Macon, Swain, Jackson and Haywood County people of mixed races and backgrounds gathered in the Jackson County Public Library Community Room for an event, sponsored by the Western NC Affiliate of Move to Amend to create an educational documentary produced for numerous future venues, including the internet.
As individuals arrived and the WNC affiliate sponsors were giving instructions for the filming process, the audience also was viewing Move to Amend's new documentary LEGALIZE DEMOCRACY. The mostly progressive audience was thus familiarized with MTA's Democracy Movement and had begun to grasp that corporations control the issues on which they are hard at work.
The purpose of the occasion was to give participants an understanding of the connection between "Personhood” law, human rights and "white privilege." Included were landmark court decisions comprising historical timelines which have advanced, but also moved backwards, the civil rights of human persons. Each participant read cards from three Rights and Privileges Timelines:
Timeline I: Court rulings such as Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad , which have produced the radical change in corporate power over the political process, by granting to them “Personhood” rights.
Timeline II: The struggle of movements of human persons for full emancipation— extending from the Bill of Rights , which granted citizenship rights to only 5-8% of white male property owners, through Roe v. Wade .
Timeline III: A series of decisions which granted rights—specifically to White Americans—to the disadvantage of other races, genders, ethnic groups, etc.
Afterwards in an hour-long discussion participants said they had not previously been informed of the consistent exclusion of rights to so many disadvantaged groups. The omission of this information, they concluded, is an appalling omission in our current public school curriculum and should be included. When asked how they felt, many white persons disclosed their shock, sadness, anger, shame, etc. "I want you to know how proud I am," countered a black woman, "there are now this many Whites who have heard this information that you did not know before. This is wonderful!"
Participants were urged--"No matter what your #One issue is, please make Move to Amend your #Two," and to sign the MTA petition as they departed. Two of our affiliate volunteers sat at a table at the exit door with laptops for that purpose.
Disclosure: Ashley Sanders' script for Rights and Privileges was heavily-adapted for this exercise and noted to the audience.
Here's the link to our timeline presentation from Nov. 13: