Some Wataugans Head To Raleigh on Second Anniversary of First Moral Monday

Published Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Locals are heading to Raleigh today on the second anniversary of the first Moral Monday.

Todd Carter, president of the Watauga NAACP Branch, said that a small contingent of the local chapter and other community members are traveling to the capitol on the anniversary that marks the birthplace of the Forward Together movement.

Carter noted that two years later, the movement has been a success.

Residents of the High Country, Catherine Hopkins and Beth Davison before being arrested on June 3 during the "Moral Monday" demonstrations in Raleigh. Photo by Steve Dear

Residents of Watauga, Catherine Hopkins and Beth Davison before being arrested in the summer of 2013, the first year of “Moral Monday” demonstrations in Raleigh. Photo by Steve Dear

Carter mentioned that the U.S. Supreme Court sent the redistricting issue back to the N.C. Supreme Court to review and that Gov. Pat McCrory has at least put Medicaid expansion back on the table.

“I feel like that was partially from pressure put on the N.C. General Assembly,” Carter said.

Carter also said that come July 6, the voter ID case between the NCAAP and McCrory goes to court. Carter called this case “the most important voting rights case since Selma.”

“It’s very important that the moral Monday movement continues moving forward and building up momentum and a strong voice for the disenfranchised, people of color, people of color and those being denied basic rights in North Carolina,” Carter said.

Two years ago, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, NC NAACP President, and 16 other clergy and lay leaders of African American, white, and Latino congregations, tried to instruct their representatives about policies that were for the common good, and applied to the General Assembly for redress of the grievances of the least of these.

The police at the People’s House arrested them while they prayed, sang, and protested the hate-filled policies promoted by extremists. The following Monday, 30 more were arrested for praying and singing in the Rotunda of the General Assembly. The next Monday, 49 were also handcuffed and hauled off to jail. The weekly witnesses were given the name Moral Monday. Some extremist legislators called those who exercised their constitutional rights “outsiders” and the weekly witness “Moron Mondays”.

For the rest of the long legislative session, both at the People’s House on Jones Street, and in legislators’ home districts, tens of thousands of people bore witness against the anti-people, pro-economic elite agenda created by secret political societies with many front group names in North Carolina. Before the long session was halfway through, North Carolina’s harmful legislation was spoken of across the country. People died because extremists rejected free medical insurance for upwards of half million low-income North Carolina residents. Koch-inspired ideologues raised taxes on the poor and lowered them on the rich.

The police, who report directly to the General Assembly leaders, then Sen. Phil Berger and Rep. Thom Tillis, jailed over 1,000 citizens of North Carolina in 2013 and the early part of 2014, for exercising their Right of Assembly and Petition: “The people have a right to assemble together to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the General Assembly for redress of grievances; but secret political societies are dangerous to the liberties of a free people and shall not be tolerated” (Art. 1, Sec. 12, N.C. Constitution).

Last year the Chief Wake County Superior Court Judge dismissed the charges against Rev. Dr. Barber and his 16 co-arrestees from April 29, 2013, because the rules on which the arrests were made left too much discretion to the police. When the government limits fundamental constitutional rights, it must be for very good and specific reasons. The Wake County District Attorney then dismissed almost all of the remaining cases, based on the same constitutional principle. The General Assembly leaders dashed off a set of rules that still leave much discretion in the hands of the police. Now, there is a new House leader. The legislature has not been doing much on Mondays. So Moral Monday is now on Wednesday.

Moral Monday on Wednesday Schedule

11 a.m. — Clergy from many faiths will hold a news conference at Davie Street Presbyterian Church (300 E. Davie St., Raleigh), giving their prayerful reasons for bearing witness against the anti-poor policies of General Assembly.

12:15 p.m. — The clergy will gather in the People’s House Rotunda to bear moral witness.

5 p.m. — North Carolinians from across the state will gather at Bicentennial Mall. All are invited — including legislators — to be instructed about the Forward Together Moral Movement’s agenda.

6:45 p.m. — Those gathered will enter the General Assembly.

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