Eugenics victims get a say
Regina Wang - 2011/06/06
For more than four decades, North Carolina sterilized people as young as 10 to eliminate traits it considered inferior and hereditary: poor, undereducated, epileptic, mentally unstable and sexually promiscuous.
Later this month, victims of the state’s eugenics law will be asked to share their stories with a governor’s task force and to suggest ways of compensation.
Former Gov. Mike Easley apologized to the 7,600 victims in 2002, but none of them has been compensated in any way.
“I hope the victims feel free to share their stories and thoughts on what the state can do to compensate them for the injustice that was done to them,” task force member Phoebe Zerwick said.
“I think it’s important for us not to decide on a package or a figure on behalf of a group of people,” said Zerwick, a former reporter and editor at the Winston-Salem Journal and now a lecturer at Wake Forest University.
After listening to the victims, the task force will submit a report to state legislators, who will then decide whether and how to compensate them.