Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Political Cartoonists to Move Forward with North Carolina Convention

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory

DURHAM, NC — Amid the wave of job losses and high-profile concert cancellations in North Carolina, there is finally some good news for its beleaguered governor and state legislature.

One group has decided not to pull its upcoming convention in the wake of the controversial law HB2: Political Cartoonists.

Pat McCrory and the GOP-controlled legislature will be gladdened to hear that the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists is standing firm in their commitment to hold their 2016 Convention and Satire Festival at Duke University in September.

"Other groups and companies are boycotting because that is the only way they can express a political opinion," said Adam Zyglis, the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner for Editorial Cartooning, and current president of the AAEC. "Expressing an opinion is precisely what we do, so I say we should go to the heart of the controversy and speak out on this issue."

The upcoming confab, scheduled for Sept. 21-24 on the Duke campus, will gather together a hundred political cartoonists from across the United States and Canada to join with nationally-known comedians and satirists for four days of panels, exhibits and public shows.

"Cartoonists and comedians don't shy away from controversy — they embrace it. They run toward it," said festival co-host JP Trostle. "I'm sure Pat McCrory and politicians in Raleigh will be happy to hear we're bringing an entire convention of these people to their doorstep."

Zyglis added, "We will be gathering Association members' work on the HB2 issue, and finding ways to showcase these cartoons to the public. We're also talking with the NC Humanities Council on a joint event discussing the different angles and historical relevance of the recent controversy."

House Bill 2, also known as "the Bathroom Bill," has generated a nationwide backlash against North Carolina, and state-wide protests both for and against the measure. A reaction to a Charlotte city ordinance that would have allowed transgender people to use public restrooms based on their gender identity, the new law is seen by many people as discriminatory against the LGBT community.

It also blocks municipalities across the state from establishing their own anti-discrimination laws or increasing the minimum wage, and strips all workers of their right to sue an employer for discrimination in state courts. 

HB2 was added to the books after a rare special session of the state legislature, when it was written and signed into law by the governor in less than 12 hours. Legislators were given five minutes to read the bill in its entirety and discuss its merits.

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The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists will hold its 60th annual convention in Durham, North Carolina, from September 21-24, 2016, in conjunction with Duke University.

For more information, please contact 

Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News,
JP Trostle,
Cullum Rogers, Indy Week,
Kevin Kallaugher, The Economist,


Statement from Duke University Leaders Regarding HB2

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