Victims of Forced Sterilization in North Carolina Must be Compensated

Target: North Carolina Republican state Senators

Goal: North Carolina must compensate victims of forced sterilization of minority, poor, disabled persons from 1929 to 1974.

In North Carolina, the horrifying practice of sterilizing minority, poor, disabled, and others deemed unfit occurred from 1929 to 1974. The living victims of these terrible acts were going to be compensated by the state budget, but Republican senators recently struck down the proposal. Tell Republican leaders that denying these victims appropriate compensation is heartless and wrong.

“You just can’t rewrite history. It was a sorry time in this country,” Republican state Senator Don East said to the Associated Press. “I’m so sorry it happened, but throwing money don’t change it, don’t make it go away [sic]. It still happened.”

But for the approximately 7,600 victims of forced sterilization in North Carolina, the trauma lasted a lifetime. And 118 of the victims who continue to live with the aftermath of the state’s eugenics program have demanded compensation for their suffering, according to an MSNBC report.

According to Eric Lach of Talking Points Memo, those identified victims would have been compensated $50,000 each –a paltry sum to ask for irreparable physical and mental trauma.

“They have really devastated victims,” N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation executive director Charmaine Fuller Cooper explained to the News & Observer. “We have had people come forward and relive those memories and have had people tell their families and nothing happens. They’re angry and they have justification in how they feel.”

Now, Talking Points Memo has reported that Elaine Riddick will slap North Carolina with a class-action suit, which can cost the state huge sums in legal fees. This could have been avoided had Republican senators approved the plan.

These lawmakers must be told that the public stands with the victims of forced sterilization in North Carolina. With a $20.2 billion state budget, $10 million to fund this compensation program is feasible. By signing the petition below, you will tell Republican senators that these men and women deserve compensation.


Dear North Carolina Republican state senators,

Striking down a proposal that would compensate victims of forced sterilization in your state is devastating to those who were so unfairly treated by the North Carolina Eugenics Board. When this horrifying practice came to an end in 1974, thousands of men and women had been forcibly sterilized.

Those who have come forward deserve to be treated with dignity and respect; they deserve compensation. A $50,000 sum for each person is a small amount to ask for when you consider the emotional and physical damaged inflicted upon them by the state.

It is imperative that you hold North Carolina accountable for its past actions by compensating these victims. Please commit to taking action immediately.


[Your Name Here]

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