The Greensboro Memorial Day reopening rally will entice GOP audio system when Part 2 begins

Photo: Raleigh demonstrators reopening on April 28th. (Photo by Owens Daniels)

Three days after the North Carolina reopening in Phase 2, Reopen NC is hosting Memorial Day rallies in five cities across North Carolina, including Greensboro.

The Greensboro rally, due to be held in Governmental Plaza on Monday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., features a trio of Republican speakers including State Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, gubernatorial candidate Mark Robinson and former Senator Ron Rabin, and a local pastor and teacher. Rallies are also held in Raleigh, Charlotte, Wilmington, and Asheville.

Billed on Facebook as the ReopenNC Memorial Day Freedom Rally, the Greensboro event is described as an opportunity to honor military veterans who have died in the service of the country and against Governor Roy Cooper’s order to control the spread of . to protest the coronavirus.

Gay Dillard, president of the Greater Greensboro Republican Women’s Club, applied to the Guilford County Security Department to use Governmental Plaza. Dillard’s request says she expects 200 people to attend the Greensboro event, but the Facebook events page said Saturday that only 160 people in total were scheduled to attend all five rallies across the state.

Although the form for requesting the use of public space includes the condition that requests “be made at least two weeks in advance” and Dillard’s request for the 19th “The square has a long history as a public forum and, to my knowledge, does not require any actual approval.” he said in an email to Triad City Beat. “The county manages and monitors the reservations to ensure that multiple events do not overlap at the same time.”

Dillard said she agreed to help Aryn Schloemer, who was asked by Ashley Smith, a Reopen NC co-founder, to coordinate the Greensboro rally. Dillard added that the Greater Greensboro Republican Women’s Club did not support the rally.

“Why I got involved is that I think most of this shutdown is government tyranny,” Dillard told TCB. “I don’t think that all of this was necessary…. Monday’s event will honor the veterans who died to be free. The government stepped on our freedom. I know people who died from this virus from poor health care in Greensboro. I don’t think it was the crisis that they told us was a crisis. “

When asked why she considers Cooper’s response to the pandemic to be “tyranny” and what action a chairman may take would be sensible and constitutional, Dillard replied that Cooper should have consulted more with the State Council. Republican Governor Dan Forest, who challenges Cooper in the race for governor, is a member of the State Council and has criticized his opponent’s handling of the pandemic.

“I really think he’s taking advantage of this crisis and not trusting people to use their common sense,” Dillard said of Cooper.

Mike Causey said his remarks at the Greensboro event on Monday will “mostly thank veterans for their service – those who have made the ultimate sacrifice – and provide a reminder of what we are there for.” He also said he plans to talk about actions he has taken as a state insurance commissioner in response to the pandemic, including including insurance companies in a new state law ensuring telemedicine coverage to relieve hospitals from overcrowding, and the encouragement of insurance companies to happen as well as savings for customers realized through a reduction in car accidents.

Causey told TCB that he failed to realize the event was a protest.

“I was invited to speak at a Memorial Day event honoring the veterans,” he said. “The group that contacted me is called Reopen NC. I am not aware that this is a protest. I hope it’s just a piece of information. I was told there would be no political speeches or disrespectful comments. That’s why I agreed to do it. “

The political nature of the event is clearly outlined in the “Details” section of the Facebook event page: “Will you take a stand against Roy Cooper and his unconstitutional executive order?” And Dillard’s request to use Governmental Plaza describes the purpose of the event as a “protest against illegal closings of churches and shops by the governor ”.

Mark Robinson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, has been closely involved with the reopening movement, speaking and shaking hands with protesters at the April 21 rally in Raleigh. A proponent of the second amendment made famous in 2018 when a video clip of him addressed to Greensboro City Council went viral in 2018. Robinson’s speeches and social media posts have come with disdain for Democrats, the political left, the news media and even Christians who have not followed the conservative line.

In a Facebook update posted on May 9th, Robinson scolded all four at once: “While left-wing governors across the country continue to keep churches closed, many ‘Christians’ continue to allow the media to control their thoughts. I think that’s how these leftists became governors from the start. “

Dillard said the North Carolina reopening was going too slow.

“There are a lot of people who suffer from it,” she says. “I guess you’d have to be at the top not to be affected. If you own a small business, it has been devastating to you. You don’t have two months of savings. “

In a High Point University poll of North Carolina residents in early May, Cooper’s respondents gave 60 percent approval, compared with just 44 percent for President Trump. A separate survey by Meredith College in late April also found broad support for Cooper’s handling of the pandemic.

“Despite claims by groups like ReopenNC and President Trump about reopening the economy and returning to normal, most North Carolinians are paying attention to health professionals and seeing the effects of the coronavirus firsthand,” said David McLennan, director of the Meredith Poll, said back then. “As such, they are very cautious about resuming pre-COVID-19 activities.”

Not all business owners share the reopening activists’ view that restrictions need to be lifted faster.

Claire Colvin, a founding member of the Triad Food & Beverage Coalition, which owns three restaurants in Winston-Salem, described independent restaurants as “still in the business” in an open letter released Thursday, the day before the state allowed restaurants to reopen free fall”. at 50 percent capacity for the dine-in service.

“Allowing restaurants to reopen without financial aid, strict regulations, and public (government) support is unscrupulous and will ruin small businesses,” Colvin wrote.

Cary Clifford, who owns Camino Bakery in Winston-Salem, has also advocated a gradual and cautious approach to reopening.

“I am grateful to our governor,” she told WFDD. “I feel that our state has taken a much more sensible approach. It did a really good job drawing the line between trying to keep people safe and trying to keep our business going. It’s really tough. “

Dillard said she sent an email instructing people not to bring firearms to the Reopen rally in Greensboro on Monday.

“It is illegal to wear concealed or open-faced wear during protests,” she told TCB. “I wanted to make it clear that this is not the time to demonstrate your rights under the second amendment.”

She said she was coordinating the event with a Greensboro police officer.

“I spoke to a detective about our vision for this event,” said Dillard. “I don’t want a marginalized group to be involved. I don’t want any Nazis, no Antifa – not even Rander. “

A loosely connected group of armed men inspired by “Boogaloo” – an internet meme promoting a second civil war – carried high-powered rifles through downtown Raleigh three times this month. On one occasion, a black couple with young children reported being frightened by a man in the group who came up to them with an oversized wrench.

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