News & Opinion

5 Things to Know: NC GOP Introduces New Don’t Say Gay Bill

...and four more stories from May 22-28, 2022

LGBTQ equality, Don't Say Gay
This week, Republican lawmakers introduced what has been called North Carolina’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Pictured: Members of the local LGBTQ equality organization Campus Pride held a rally in support of a local LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance in December 2016. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

NC GOP Introduces New Don’t Say Gay Bill

Republican state lawmakers on Tuesday introduced House Bill 755, which they’re calling the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” but opponents are calling the “Don’t Say Gay” bill to compare it to similar anti-LGBTQ laws that have been passed in Alabama and Florida and introduced in several other states.

Setting lawmakers up to police school curricula they feel uncomfortable with, the language in HB 755 has the potential to shut down discussion of LGBTQ issues as well as aspects of American history that right-wing pundits have dubbed “Critical Race Theory.” It could also require teachers to out LGBTQ students to their parents.

According to a summary of the bill provided to reporters by its sponsors on Tuesday, HB 755 would “require public school officials to provide notifications on student physical and mental health,” require “age-appropriate instruction” in K-3rd grade, and “create remedies for parents to address concerns over implementation of these requirements.”

It would also require health-care professionals to obtain written consent from a parent of a minor child before providing any treatment. 

In a release sent out by Equality NC on Thursday, after the Senate Healthcare Committee passed HB 755 out of committee and onto Rules, the organization’s executive director Kendra R. Johnson said she and fellow advocates were “outraged” that the Don’t Say Gay bill is being fast-tracked through the legislature without any transparency. 

“House Bill 755 is an attack on LGBTQ+ youth, educators, and parents,” Johnson wrote. “We know that forced outing and erasure in the curriculum have severe impacts on queer and trans young people’s safety, mental health and well-being, especially poor youth and youth of color. Over 60% of queer youth report living in unsafe housing, and this bill will place more children directly in harms way.

“We’re heartbroken that this attack on queer youth may increase suicidality and leave life-long trauma for our children,” she continued. “How can members of the Healthcare Committee ignore these life-or-death consequences and push forward a bill that will hurt children and young people?”

Southwest Charlotte Residents Kicked Out of Homes

Dozens of residents of the Sterling neighborhood in southwest Charlotte have been served with notices that they must leave their homes within 28 days, according to reporting from WSOC’s Joe Bruno this week, leaving many with nowhere to go in a city that is already grappling with a housing crisis.

The situation came about after a company called Blu South Single Family I LLC bought 44 parcels of land where the residents’ rental homes — all affordable-housing units — are located. The company now wants those living there to leave. A property management company called River Investments Properties NC (RIPNC) sent letters to residents stating that new ownership had “alternate plans” for the property. 

The Rock Hill-based RIPNC was involved with the development of townhomes near the neighborhood, which is located near the intersection of South and Westinghouse boulevards. 

Organizations such as Legal Aid of North Carolina and DreamKey Partners are working with residents to try to help them find new homes, though advocates and city officials acknowledge that some may not be able to find housing in time. 

Ella Scarborough, Pioneer of Local Government, Dead at 75

Mecklenburg County commissioner Ella Scarborough passed away on Tuesday at the age of 75, leaving behind a strong legacy of public service in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

As a young person in South Carolina in 1960s, Scarborough became known for her activity in the civil rights movement. She later became the first Black woman elected to Charlotte City Council, serving as an at-large and district rep between 1987-97. She served on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners from her election at-large in 2014 until this year, during which time she was a strong advocate for youth literacy and solutions to homelessness.

Ella Scarborough
Ella Scarborough. (Courtesy of Mecklenburg County)

From 2016 to 2018, Scarborough served as chair of the BOCC, the first Black woman to be elected to that position.

“Commissioner Scarborough was a trailblazer throughout her life, serving the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community in so many capacities, and fighting for racial justice and integration from an early age,” said current board chair George Dunlap in a statement on Wednesday. “Her passion was limitless and her loss is immeasurable. Our prayers go out to her family, friends and the entire Mecklenburg County community that is a better place today due to her dedication.”

City Closer to Deal with Eastland DIY Skaters 

The city of Charlotte is closer to a deal with a group of skaters who were displaced from a skate park they had spent years building up at the old Eastland Mall site in March.

Eastland DIY skatepark
For seven years, skaters hit up Eastland DIY skatepark to work on tricks. (Photo by Ryan Allen)

The city has set aside a site next to the Tyvola light rail station, as reported by WSOC’s Joe Bruno this week, and is aiming to lease it out to a nonprofit 501c3 made up of local skaters who will work with Urban Design Center on designing the new skate park. 

According to Stephen Barrett, a co-founder of Eastland DIY, the new site is not yet a done deal, and the skaters are currently working on their own to form a 501c3 in hopes that they will be allowed to run the park. 

“We would need the city to pour a foundation for us to build on and help with some barrier walls since it’s right on a main road,” Barrett told Queen City Nerve on Friday. “Personally, I think the spot could be great if the city is willing to give us what we need. I wish it was closer to east Charlotte, but we’ll take what we can get.”

Barrett said he remains hopeful that skaters will be allowed to build the park and have control over its design as they did with Eastland DIY. 

Skateboarders slowly built up the concrete Eastland DIY park over seven years, creating an iconic space in a city with limited room for skaters. On Feb. 15, the city announced they only had two weeks left to enjoy the fruits of their labor; the skatepark would be shut down on March 3. Though it remains standing today, Eastland DIY will be torn down as soon as construction begins on a $26-million multi-use redevelopment of the site led by Tepper Sports and Entertainment and Crosland Southeast.

Police Find Dead Body Following Car Chase

Police found a dead body in a car they had chased from the scene of a shooting in southeast Charlotte this week, making for the 36th homicide to have occurred in Charlotte so far this year.


At around 1:30 a.m. on Monday, police responded to a call about a man and woman who were shot on Burkland Drive in southeast Charlotte’s Grier Heights neighborhood. Responding officers located the two victims, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and spotted a car fleeing the scene.

The ensuing pursuit ended on Briarwood Drive in northeast Charlotte. Officers took the driver into custody after a foot pursuit with K-9 assistance, and inside the car they found a person dead from a gunshot wound. The victim has not yet been named.

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