North Carolina, political activism

Moral Monday, June 17, 2013

The North Carolina NAACP began a movement several weeks ago they call “Moral Mondays.” Every week draws more protesters and activists who are pushing back against the regressive policies and outright meanness of the current GOP controlled state government. It is a spiritual as well as a political event, with many of the state’s clergy participating in civil disobedience and getting arrested for trespassing. I decided that I needed to be a supporter of these fine citizens, so I went with my friend Deb to the seventh Moral Monday in Raleigh on Monday, June 17.

This movement has drawn the usual ridicule and name calling from the nastier faction of the far right, as well as outright lies about the protesters being mainly “outside agitators.” That was very nice compared to most of the other names we’ve been called for exercising our first amendment rights, but we tried to put this fabrication to rest on Monday so there are a lot of signs referring to being an North Carolina resident. Researchers from UNC Chapel Hill interviewed a sampling of the crowd and found that 311 out of 316 were from North Carolina.

There are many stories in the regional, national, and international news about Moral Mondays right now. I’m not going to try to write a long post about it. I’m proud that my sister and brother-in-law and I are a part of it. The Reverend Barber is an inspiring speaker and I’ll quote him from his Guardian article here, and follow it with a few of my photos. As usual, please ask permission if you would like to repost or use one of my photos. Thank you.

“To date, over 300 people have been arrested and thousands have lifted their voices in opposition to the avalanche of extreme public policies. The measures include:

  • Cutting the payroll tax credit for over 900,000 poor and working people
  • Slashing state unemployment benefits and rejecting federally-funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation to 170,000 laid-off workers
  • Rejecting federal funds to expand Medicaid to cover 500,000 North Carolinians without health insurance

“In sum, the NC general assembly is making it harder for those who are sick to get healthcare; for children to get an education; for the incarcerated to be redeemed; for people to vote. At the same time, they make it easier for the rich to get richer; for the sick to get sicker; for private schools to profit while cutting funds for public schools; to implement the flawed death penalty; and to get guns.”

The protesters who were arrested for trespassing and failure to disperse volunteered to be arrested. The police were respectful and professional. There were many songs uplifted and lots of chanting. This was not an overly rowdy crowd, but I, for one, would like to see one of these protests be a silent vigil. As Rev. Barber pointed out, on July 1, many of our unemployed are going to lose their benefits. People’s lives are going to be hurt. It is a sad occasion and should be treated as such.

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