Diverse North Carolina Coalition to Hold Massive “Moral March on Raleigh” February 8 -Protest Injustice & Restore Democracy
By Mel Fabrikant Friday, January 31, 2014, 04:16 PM EST
The Forward Together Moral Movement Kicks Off a Year of Nonviolent Direct Action and Population Education, Litigation and Voter Engagement
Raleigh – The Forward Together Moral Movement, a broad, multiracial coalition movement led by the North Carolina NAACP, has called for thousands of people to assemble at the NC State Capitol on February 8 for a Moral March to protest the extremist policies passed by the state government last year.
The movement is made up of more than 160 partners from the civil rights, women’s rights, faith-based, labor, LGBT, immigrant justice, student and environmental communities. Participants will help map out sustained direct action campaigns for the rest of 2014, including grassroots voter engagement for the mid-term elections and beyond. It is expected that Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President of the NC NAACP and leader of the Moral Movement, will announce plans for a Grassroots Moral Freedom Summer, modeled after the Mississippi Freedom Summer 50 years ago.
The Forward Together Moral Movement deepens and broadens the annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street People’s Assembly (HKonJ), which, for the past seven years, gathered thousands of people in front of the state legislature in early February. After a year of more than 30 Moral Monday rallies and in the wake of an avalanche of cruel policies passed in the General Assembly last session, the coalition returns to Raleigh this year with renewed strength and a new sense of urgency. There are five fundamental demands for this year’s Moral March:
1. Secure pro-labor, anti-poverty policies that insure economic sustainability;
2. Provide quality educational opportunities for all;
3. Stand up for the health of all North Carolinians by promoting health care for all and environmental justice across all the state’s communities;
4. Address the continuing inequalities in the criminal justice system;
5. Protect and expand voting rights for people of color, women, immigrants, the elderly and students to ensure equality under the law for every person, regardless of race, class, creed or religious preference.
Although 945 people were charged with trespassing and other misdemeanors last summer, when they tried to peacefully petition their legislators to stop their ideological attacks on the poor and most vulnerable, over half of these cases that have gone to trial have been dismissed. Organizers emphasize that no one who follows the directions of the NAACP marshals and leaders will be arrested at the Moral March. No civil disobedience actions are planned before, during or after the nonviolent march.
“At this year’s Moral March on Raleigh, people from all corners of North Carolina will continue to challenge the immoral, unconstitutional policies from Gov. Pat McCrory, Budget Director Art Pope and their allies in the General Assembly,” said Rev. Dr. William Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP and Convener of the HKonJ People’s Coalition. “But we will also renew our commitment to our Five-Point Moral Agenda and continue to stand for what we want to see in our great state. With love and faith, the Moral March on February 8th will kick off a year of nonviolent direct action, litigation and grassroots voter education and empowerment. We will keep moving forward together, not one step back.”
The Moral March convenes at Shaw University on Wilmington St, between South St and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, in Raleigh at 9 am. The Moral March program opens at 9:30 am near Shaw, and the march toward the state capitol will begin at 10:30 am. More information about the march is available here.
“Last year they had their time to vote and abuse power,” Dr. Barber said. “This year we will vote with our voices to show power of the people.”