A caucus supporting African Americans within the North Carolina Democratic Party announced on Wednesday it’s boycotting statewide party events this weekend because it said party officials overlooked Juneteenth and Father’s Day.
The state party convention, State Executive Committee meeting and “Unity Dinner,” all in Durham, will be held Saturday, the day before both observances.
“The NCDP did not consider its magnitude of disregard” for the holidays, the African American Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party said in a release. The group’s statement said the concerns surfaced after last weekend’s monthly meeting of the caucus, which has from 300 to 500 members.
Caucus President Collette Alston told WRAL-TV that given the pandemic this year will be the first chance many people have had to gather to observe Juneteenth, which became a federal holiday last year.
The holiday commemorates when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, two months after the Confederacy had surrendered in the Civil War and about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in Southern states.
Required attendance this weekend for party business instead “did not sit too well” with caucus members, Alston said. Gov. Roy Cooper and U.S. Senate nominee Cheri Beasley are expected to speak at Saturday evening’s fundraising dinner.
Party Chair Bobbie Richardson, who is also a founding member of the caucus, didn’t address the boycott in a statement Wednesday but said the party “will honor and celebrate Sunday’s Juneteenth holiday as we conduct the business of the party.”