From an editorial in the Winston-Salem Journal on Monday:
Gov. Bev Perdue enjoys nationwide media access, including spots on CNN and the Rev. Al Sharptons Politics Nation show on MSNBC. So were at a loss as to why, with her days in office quickly drawing to a close, the Democrat hasnt used that access for the sterilization victims she said shed help as she ran for office four years ago.
I think she should try to help us, said Charles Holt of Kernersville, a retired municipal worker who was sterilized when he was 18, in the late 1960s.
CNN has already followed up on the Journals coverage and that of other N.C. newspapers, as has NBCs Rock Center and The New York Times. Perdue would probably have no trouble getting Sharpton to help her put nationwide pressure on Phil Berger, the Republican leader of the state Senate, to compensate the victims before this year ends. Theres also been pressure from the right, including from the John Locke Foundation and Bergers Republican counterpart in the state House, Speaker Thom Tillis.
In June, Tillis led his chamber to a history-making vote. The vote was the first of its kind, overwhelmingly in favor of giving $50,000 to each of the states living sterilization victims. There may be as many as 1,500 of them. Berger, however, never brought the matter to a vote in the Senate.
But the fight is not over. Many N.C. newspapers, including The Charlotte Observer, The News & Observer of Raleigh, the News & Record of Greensboro and The High Point Enterprise, have joined us in the call for compensation. We have repeatedly urged Perdue to call on nonprofit foundations and hospitals to start a campaign to challenge the legislature with matching grants for compensation. Perdue could then call a special session of the legislature and demand it finally approve compensation. Perdue, Berger and Tillis could take credit for the best kind of win, one to finally help vulnerable and victimized citizens.
They have waited far too long. The Journals 2002 investigative series Against Their Will started a long road to justice. The victims were sterilized by a program with a warped aim of bettering society and reducing the welfare rolls based on the junk science of eugenics, one that focused on the poor and powerless, often bullying them into operations because they were deemed not smart enough or physically sound enough to reproduce. The victims have heard almost 10 years of false promises. They are hurting and dying. Help cant come soon enough.
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