By Jesse Wood
July 30, 2013. With the ending of the legislative session in Raleigh, “Moral Mondays” have moved into Watauga County and other parts of Western North Carolina.
Protesters stood on the steps of the Jones House Community and Cultural Center in downtown Boone yesterday. It was the second “Moral Monday” protest to occur in Boone in as many weeks. Retired local activist Marjorie McKinney, 71, said the local movement started because several people wanted to go to Raleigh and show support but couldn’t make the trek to the State Capitol.
“We decided that one of the things we could do would be to have something local, and it would give us the opportunity to express the concerns we’ve got about the legislature that has passed and other things that are sort of in the pipeline,” McKinney said. “Also, we wanted to voice our concerns about things going on more locally, and then we found out that organizers for the event in Raleigh were hoping local communities would do the same sort of thing.”
McKinney said that she was protesting decreasing unemployment and Medicaid benefits, voter ID laws, cuts to education, public-funded vouchers to private schools and a “litany” of other agenda items.
Now a Mountain Moral Monday exists, and Dr. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, who has become the leader of the “Moral Monday” protests, is attending a Mountain Moral Monday in Asheville on Aug. 5. McKinney said that she has heard that Barber will also attend a rally in Boone in August or September.
The steps of the Jones House was the scene to the “Women in Black” protests years back when women, dressed in black, would stand in silent solidarity to express concerns about the difficulties, particularly for women, in conflict areas and domestic-violence situations. McKinney attended those protests, too.
The Moral Monday Watauga County group plans to meet at 5:30 p.m. each Monday at the Jones House.