The Wake County Chapter of LPF has actively participated in the Moral Monday and Forward Together Movement which began in North Carolina on April 29, 2013. They have attended the weekly demonstrations and will continue their weekly involvement when the movement resumes in April. Two members did civil disobedience and were arrested in 2013 and one member was a presenter at one of the events.
The movement was in response to several actions that a newly elected conservative legislative majority was doing to a tradition of caring for the least fortunate. The movement was grounded in a yearning for social justice that enlisted many thousands of people to protest those choices. The protesters were a wide range of citizens, with many religious progressive movements represented. On that first Monday, 17 protesters were arrested. Each Monday, multitudes of protesters gathered at the state legislature building while the general assembly was in session. The protests were characterized by engaging in civil disobedience by entering the state legislature building and then being peacefully arrested. As the movement built momentum, 924 people were arrested in 2013.
The movement encompasses a broad coalition, including advocates for immigrant rights, LGBT rights, criminal justice, worker’s rights, environmental issues and others. They were responding to the conservative faction within the General Assembly who chose to deny emergency unemployment benefits to 170,000 hard-working people; refused to expand Medicaid and give affordable health care to 500,000 North Carolinians; revised the tax code to raise the burden on poor and working class families while easing it for the wealthiest 11 percent and corporations; drastically cut funding from public education; repealed the Racial Justice Act; and passed a voter suppression law that makes it harder for people of color, the elderly and students to cast ballots.
The movement was formed under the leadership of Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II and the North Carolina NAACP. Rev. Barber often says: “We’re not asking people to go left or right. We’re asking them to go deeper.” North Carolinians suffer as a result of legislative changes he calls extremist, and this suffering should worry everyone, regardless of political party. The movement is about the moral fabric of our entire society. People are advocating for the type of democracy that places the common good at the center of public policy. They demand that we must have a society that articulates the connection between the moral call for justice and the constitutional call for the common good. The movement continues to go FORWARD TOGETHER NOT ONE STEP BACK.
In 2014 people from the movement met with their congressional leaders and they continued to gather weekly while the legislature was in session. On February 8th 80,000 people participated in an annual march called HKonJ (Historic Thousands on Jones Street). It was reported to be the largest Civil Rights protest in the South since the Selma-to-Montgomery marches in 1965. On February 14, 2015 the Moral Monday Movement participated again in the HKonJ Assembly. The movement will begin to gather weekly at the legislative building weekly beginning in April.
The Moral Mondays Movement has spread to Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, and Missouri. Rev. Barber has also gone on to do training across the country in how other organizers can learn lessons from North Carolina’s Moral Monday movement, including advising in the civil protests surrounding the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.
read more . . . Can Moral Mondays Produce Victorious Tuesdays?
Thanks to Sue Woodling for submitting this article.