Ric Elias is a civic treasure and I am damn proud of his actions yesterday

Ric Elias is a civic treasure and I am damn proud of his actions yesterday
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In the mud-slinging arena that is the 2016 election, Red Ventures CEO Ric Elias is battling hot-button issue HB2 with a novel approach—democracy.

Yesterday Elias announced that all Red Ventures employees will receive three hours of paid time off to vote any time from the start of early voting on October 20 through Election Day on November 8.

And he’s urging other business leaders across the state to do the same.

The policy came following Monday’s predictable and frustrating announcement that the NCAA would pull seven scheduled championship games out of the state due to discriminatory HB2 legislation.

From the time Elias drafted the statement earlier this week to the time it was released on Wednesday, the state suffered yet another blow.

Yesterday, the ACC announced it too would relocate all of its scheduled tournament games out of North Carolina, including the football championship that would have taken place in Charlotte on December 3.

And boy, are people mad.


One of several comments on the @charlotteagenda Instagram post about the ACC game loss

But here’s the thing. The NCAA, ACC, NBA and all the other entities who have bailed out of North Carolina because of HB2? They’re right, guys. Patrick McCrory is wrong and for that we will all suffer.

It took me a while to get here.

I whined that Charlotte shouldn’t be punished for something it didn’t do and argued in favor of keeping all these events here to give us a chance to show people who we really are—open, inclusive, diverse.

But if the people who govern us aren’t, then more drastic measures must be taken. 

That’s why I’m finally starting to realize that boycotting works. It costs the state loads of money and makes all of us look stupid which makes people (especially sports fans) mad which makes people vote.


Someone told me recently that her staunchly Republican boyfriend decided he will vote against McCrory this November following Charlotte’s loss of the NBA All-Star game to the governor’s anti-LGBT HB2 legislation.

Do I wish people got as mad about the loss of human rights as they do about the loss of concerts and sporting events? You bet your ass I do.

But if that’s what it takes to get people to the polls, so be it. And if Charlotte has to take a few punches in the process, bring it on.

Bring it on because come November, we’ll fire back at the polls. And local leaders like Ric Elias will see to it that we get there.

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