Happy Friday, North Carolina! Here’s a brief look at some of the latest news that happened this week.
Welcome to our weekly news digest, where we break down the latest news items, sharing what they mean for parents, families, and communities across the state. Have you signed up to receive our weekly newsletter? What are you waiting for?!
Y’all, we’re almost there. After Tuesday, the 10,000 Democratic presidential nominees—OK, not really, but it feels like it—will move on from campaigning in North Carolina. By then, we’ll have collectively made our choice for who we think should run against President Trump in November. (Insert a huge sigh of relief here.)
Let’s not forget, though, that the primary on Tuesday is also our opportunity to decide who we want to see down ballot as well. Ten of North Carolina’s 13 seats in the U.S. House, all 170 seats in the General Assembly, and key state leadership positions, including governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and more, will be before voters. And, depending on where you live, you’ll also get a chance to make important decisions about county commissioners, school board members, and other local officials.
Civic engagement—it’s a beautiful thing.
Here’s What You Need to Know This Week
These Two Congressional Races Will Be Especially Interesting
North Carolina’s congressional districts were redrawn last year after a court ruled they were unconstitutional for being unfair. In other words, you might have a shot at voting someone into the House that really represents your interests. People way smarter than us say that District 2 and District 6—two Republican-held U.S. House seats—are likely to flip to blue. Monika Johnson-Hostler, one of four Democratic candidates hoping to represent the 2nd, said in an interview she’s running a “people-powered campaign.” Meanwhile, Republican millennial Laura Pichardo may face a long shot in her race for the 6th congressional seat, but she’s convinced her party could do with “a more open-minded representation.”
Weinstein Was Found Guilty. These Women Say It’s Not Enough.
On Monday, disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of criminal sexual act and rape; the jury, however, acquitted him on more serious charges of predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape. Several North Carolina women told us that while the news was encouraging, it also revealed how problematic federal and state laws are surrounding sexual assault. “My first thought after hearing the verdict was: ‘That’s not enough,’” said Leah McGuirk, a journalism student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. According to a 2019 investigation, less than one in four defendants charged with sexual assault in the state are convicted. Out of 100 counties from January 2014 through June 2018, the project found that 30 had no sexual assault convictions at all.
How Schools and Universities Are Addressing Coronavirus
First of all, let’s be clear: There have been no official cases of coronavirus diagnosed in North Carolina. (Whew!) But state health officials did say now’s a good time to prepare for a potential outbreak. Some public school systems are doing their part to be proactive: Orange County, for example, plans to install hand sanitizers in buses. Several universities also canceled some of their study abroad programs, including to China and Italy. “We still consider the risk to North Carolina to be very low,” state Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson said during a press briefing this week. “We want people to take advantage of that low to prepare. … this is a matter of how to best prepare but not to panic.”
Early Voting Ends Saturday
As of Thursday, more than 455,000 voters have already cast their ballots in North Carolina. The last day to exercise your civic duty without (potentially) standing in a long line is Saturday. Here’s a list of early voting sites and hours by county.
In Other News
Why Black History Month Matters to 5 Diverse Teachers
In many schools across the U.S., Black History Month is a time for celebrating the historical, social, cultural, and technological contributions of diasporic Africans. But the process of integrating such important historical context into schools is not without difficulty. Teachers already struggling to teach to state and federal standards can feel overwhelmed or ill-equipped. Others may simply be uncomfortable with the language of race and discussing America’s systemic injustices.
But the solution is not to obscure this vital part of America’s identity. Here are how five teachers across the country—including one in Charlotte—with diverse student populations incorporate Black history into their February coursework.
Read the story here.
Stat of the Week
That’s the approximate number of 17- and 18-year-old students in Guilford County who were eligible to participate in recent school field trips that transported them to early voting polling sites to learn about the electoral process.
Something You Can Do
North Carolina joins 13 other states on Super Tuesday (March 3) in hosting its primary to decide which Democratic presidential candidate will take on Donald Trump. Check out our guide to the primary, and look up your polling place, sample ballot, and more here.
Photo of the Week
We love to see it. #ncvotes