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Senate | April 26, 2016 | Press Room | Press Conference: Rep Martin

Full MP3 Audio File

[NOISE] >> All right folks, if we are all set, let's come on in and get started, the only way to take a room that's full of people and make it hotter is to turn on bright lights and the TV and the piece to resistance is to get a politician up here blowing hot air, that will have it as a sauna pretty soon. My name is Greer Martin and I serve in the North Carolina house of representatives. I represent the district in Raleigh, you are in fact in my district right now, I won't try to explain the full extent of it because it's pretty confusing but I'm proud to have been here for, I guess I'm in my sixth term right now. As you know I'm one of the primary sponsors along with representatives Darren Jackson, Susie Hamilton and Greg Myer of House Bill 946 which is a bill to fully repeal House Bill two. We filed that Bill yesterday. >> [APPLAUSE] >> Since We were called to a so-called emergency session, several weeks ago to address what they claim was an emergency and passed this discriminatory bit of legislation. I have been amazed, thrilled and had my heart warmed at the response from the Faith community in North Carolina to this discriminatory piece of legislation. As a Presbyterian, I was pleased to see that the stated Clerk of my denomination spoke out against House Bill two. As I opened up the newspaper today, I saw that several United Methodist Bishops in North Carolina were calling for the full repeal of House Bill two also. Growing up in Charlotte North Carolina, I was well aware of the strong presence of the Jewish Community in our city. My parents were very involved in what was then the National Conference of Christians and Jews, so I saw early on what the joining of different faiths could mean in bringing about Justice in our State, and in our world As I've grown up and raised a child and come to serve in the General Assembly. It's been a joy for me to learn more about Justice from my colleagues in the General Assembly, Nick Glassier and Jennifer White, two of the best teachers about justice, a student [INAUDIBLE] >> [APPLAUSE] Unfortunately, we no longer have any Jews in the General Assembly. So I have become an honorary Jew >> [LAUGH] >> My first name is David >> [LAUGH] >> But I earned it many years ago when I was on the same hall as a freshman Representative Vice/g and Representative Glassier and I took Representative Stan Fox's old office, they not me, called it the Jewish Ghetto and I was >> [LAUGH] >> A citizen of it, so it's a joke, but it's a deep honor to help join my Presbyterian Christian voice to the voices of Jews from North Carolina calling to an exact same thing It's Jews that knew growing up in Charlotte, are doing in calling for Justice in our State. It is in my understanding that just about every Rabbi in the State of North Carolina is signing a letter calling for the full repeal of House Bill two. >> [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] >> When you see Methodist Bishops, Rabbis and a really, really mediocre Presbyterian Sunday School teacher basically got fired, all over the same thing, you know it's something good, we're all working together to bring about Justice. So without me raising the temperature even more with my political hot air Let me introduce Debby Goldstein who is the President of Carolina Jews for Justice. >> [APPLAUSE] >> Good Afternoon, Shalom. My name is Debby Goldstein and I am the President for Carolina Jews for Justice, a grassroots network made up of Jews across North Carolina Committed to our community's values, justice, equality, fairness and compassion. I wanna thank representative Greer Martin for hosting us today as well as former members Nick Glassier and Jennifer for attending. We affectionately refer to them as the Jewish Caucus. >> [LAUGH] >> We are here today because of the Jewish community overwhelming opposition to HB2. This week is the Jewish Holiday of Passover, a holiday that reminds us to welcome the stranger because we were once strangers, and asks us to commemorate the escape from slavery to freedom. HB2 is not consistent with those values. Throughout history, Jews have been the victims of discrimination And we cannot remain silent today, this bill threatens our entire community , a religious minority by removing the right to sue in State Court if we experience discrimination on the basis of religion but it goes much further prohibiting protection of the workers for the LGBT community and for transgender people, this is This is unacceptable to the Jewish community which is clear that LGBTQ and families are welcome in our congregation and our communities.

Carolina Jews for Justice is proud to stand here today with Rabbis from across the State who represent some of the 45 North Carolina Rabbis who signed a Statement calling for the repeal of HB2. I have to confess, I didn't even know they were 45 rabbis. >> [LAUGH] >> Until they signed this letter, it's a really big deal have them all together. Rabbis from Charlotte, to Ash-field, from [UNKNOWN] to Greens borough and from [UNKNOWN] to Remington have all joined together to oppose this law And many congregations have made statements of opposition as well. HB2 allows discrimination against LGBT members of the Jewish community, impacts the whole Jewish community and harms our state as a whole. It does not represent our community or the state we love. We strongly urge the legislature to repeal HB2. So now Rabbi Fred Guttman from Emmanuel in Greensboro will say a few words followed by Rabbi Lucy Dinner. After their remarks and any questions we'll hold a special passover service upstairs in the chapel and we invite you to join us there as well. >> [APPLAUSE] >> Thank you. I think that there are people representing other offices here, other elected officials,if there's someone like that would they identify themselves now? Okay, maybe they were just outside because I know someone from Representative Harrison's office was just here. So the Jewish people this past week, celebrated the festival of Passover, and during Passover, as is true with most Jewish festivals, we Jews like to eat. So, one of the things we eat is bitter herbs. We eat bitter herbs to remind us of the bitterness of slavery and when I was growing up, my mother always used to say, you have to have have the bitter herbs no matter how much you don't want to eat them. Otherwise you will not be able to empathize with the plight of the dispossessed, plight of the people who are less fortunate. And it seemed to me at that time that encoding/g empathy was in an intrinsic Jewish value into us. And then when you add that Jewish value to the fact that throughout History, Jews have been the victims of discrimination, of bias, of bigotry. Then when it comes to something like HB2, our antenna goes up, and it's for that reason yes there's 45 Rabbis in North Carolina and yes almost every Rabbi I know signed that, and yes, there's been statements by close to 20 Jewish organizations, congregations and federations that have called for the repeal of North Carolina. I'd have never seen the Jewish community in North Carolina for the 21 years I have been here, so united about something. Every Rabbi back here can tell you that he/she's heard of the story two, or three opinions. It's not easy to be a rabbi, >> [LAUGH] >> Okay, but I've never seen enmity in this and the reason why is because when it comes to bias, having been victims, having been people who teach from a very early age. The value of acknowledging everyone else's humanity because we were all created in God's image. Our antenna goes up, now I have to tell you in all of the years of my being a Rabbi, I have never received a letter like the one I'm going to share with you right now. It was a letter that was written to me after in Greensboro, we had a rally attended by more than a thousand people at College Park Baptist Church. A rally against HB2, and a mother whose child is a transgender child, wrote to me the following, She said, she wrote to me and my colleague rabbi Andy Koren. I want you both to know that your willingness to speak out in opposition to HB2 is incredibly meaningful to me. I was there in the room with a full heart and a full soul. I was moved beyond words. I am eternally grateful to faith leaders who are passionate about human rights issue and who speak up and speak out. I appreciate your cooperative efforts with other faith leaders, academic, business people and politicians. As a result of this legislation, my child and I are now looking at alternative schools. Yesterday after two days of reflection, my child had some questions about the law and said, mum, so if people who made this laws had a transgender child like me, do you think they would discriminate against their own child. I responded by telling my child that I believe this law makers have not bothered to know incredible kids like her and that if they

did, they would never have thought of such policies. She then said, mum why do they care why I changed my clothes or used the bathroom when there are big problems in the world. I'm in awe of my child everyday and I could not be prouder. Her child by the way is 11 years old, she speaks the truth at many of her peer-share, these kids are about acceptance and love. They are better than this. And I thank you for modelling this kind of love and communicating that God feels the same. Even now, I'm almost moved to tears reading this letter. It made Made me to understand why in 1779 I was ordained as a Rabbi and it made me understand why I am a Rabbi and why as a Rabbi and as a member of the people who values human dignity and who's history has been filled with persecution at times. Why it is so important why it is so important for me and others. To say no to HP2. We are better than this bill represents the what is of North Carolina. It does not represent the what ought to be. And on Passover, we Jews focus on what was and dedicate ourselves to what ought to be, and for us in North Carolina, that is nothing less than the total repeal of House Bill 2. Thank you. >> [APPLAUSE] >> Good afternoon, I'm Rabbi Lucy Dinner, senior Rabbi at Temple [UNKNOWN] North Carolina. I am a member of Judaism's reform movement. The first major religious movement to pass a resolution calling for the protection and rights of transgender persons, my congregation, my community of Carolina Jews for Justice, my movement have all passed resolutions condemning HP2, and it's ramifications for the trans-community and more broadly the LGBTQ community and every person associated with any minority or subgroup in North Carolina. In this season of Passover of Redemption celebrating freedom when we should be celebrating as a community instead we are here fighting oppression for our own state where redemption has not yet come in North Carolina. HB2 targets one of them most vulnerable groups in our society and eviscerates there ability to participate actively in community. One North Carolina legislature we recently suggested that transperson should not use any public restrooms, but only go to the bathroom at home. The legislation, the increasingly but [INAUDIBLE] rhetoric. All of it against the trans and LGBTQ community bring real and present danger. Discrimination has Spawned an alarming rate of suicide attempts among trans, teens and adults. 41% of trans persons nationally have attempted suicide compared to a national average of 4.6%. What can Change that statistic. Studies show that trans people who feel welcome and accepted, they attempt suicide at much lesser rates. Moses implored Pharaoh, let my people go. We We are here to implore the North Carolina legislature and governor, let all people go. Not just to the bathroom. >> [LAUGH] [APPLAUSE] If only it was just about bathrooms, that would be bad enough. HB2 discriminates in so many more ways. In the past over liturgy,

we sing Dayenu. It would have been enough thanking God for the myriads of miracles that God has Is given to us in redeeming us. To the North Carolina Legislature and Governor we say [INAUDIBLE] it would have been bad enough. >> [LAUGH] >> [UNKNOWN] It would have been bad enough if HB2 only impacted transgender people. [UNKNOWN] we would have Have been bad enough if HB2 only eliminated protections for the entire LGBTQ community. It would have been bad enough if HB2 had just stolen the rights of counties and municipalities to require their contractors to pay a living wage It would have been horrific and bad enough if HB2 only too away the right of North Carolinians to sue in state courts against employer discrimination for race, [INAUDIBLE] Religions, sex, age or nationality or any other perceived discrimination And so we the Carolina Jews for justice in [INAUDIBLE AUDIO] it will only be enough when HP2 is repealed in all of it's fur/g. When all citizens have the right to freedom, when all will acknowledge that in order for one to be be free, all must be free. Thank you. >> [APPLAUSE] >> Thank Rabbis. I handed out press releases and copies of the Rabbis statements and In Carolina, [INAUDIBLE] for Justice has statement has many people as they could, but if you'd like a copy, just come see me. I have some copies of some of the synagogue statements if you're interested. And if anybody has any questions, we're happy to answer them. >> Senator Woodard came. >> Yes. Thank you Senator Woodard for joining us as well. >> About what percentage of the rabbis in North Carolina does the 45 represent? Does anybody know? About what percentage of the [UNKNOWN] >> It is 45. >> Probably 80- >> 80. >> 85% and that's just a guess. >> Yeah. Maybe even more. >> Okay, thanks. []BLANK_AUDIO] >> Any other questions? All right. Well, thank you Thank you. We're gonna adjourn up to the chapel where we're gonna hold a short Passover service and eat a little matcha. If you'd like to join us, we'd be happy to have you. >> [APPLAUSE] [NOISE]