As many of you already know, Rev. William Barber and the state NAACP are organizing weekly protests at the General Assembly, voicing opposition to the direction our state is being taken during this legislative session (that direction being backwards). These protests include, for those who choose to take part, nonviolent civil disobedience and arrest. In the last three weeks, nearly a hundred people have been arrested. The call has also been for supporters, people who choose not to take part in civil disobedience but who are supportive of those who do. Rev. Barber notes “At the previous demonstrations, the supporters have been just as important!”
Several participants in the first three weeks of demonstrations, both supporters and those arrested, have been active folks with the NC Council of Churches – current and past Board members and officers, a previous committee chair, a former staff member, recipients of our awards, and pastors and members of Council-affiliated congregations.
The protests are about changes affecting issues the NC Council of Churches has long been involved with: providing a sound education to all NC children; ensuring ease of voting for all NC citizens; caring for our most vulnerable residents through healthcare, social services, and unemployment benefits; having a fair tax structure that raises adequate revenues.
Rev. Barber has now issued a special call to clergy and other religious leaders to take part in Moral Monday, next Monday, May 20, the day after Pentecost Sunday, “lifting up justice as the work of the Spirit,” to quote him. All participants who are choosing to take part in civil disobedience must attend an information session at Davie Street Presbyterian Church, 300 E. Davie Street, Raleigh, at 3:00 on Monday. Those who wish to be supporters are asked to meet at Bicentennial Mall, across Jones Street from the Legislative Building, by 5:30. I plan to be there next Monday and invite you to join me, letting the Spirit guide you in deciding which group you will be in. Clergy are invited to wear collars and/or stoles.
If you can’t participate this coming Monday but want to take part in future Moral Mondays, the plan is for them to continue throughout the remainder of the legislative session, with afternoon information sessions at Davie Street Presbyterian for those choosing to take part in civil disobedience and with supporters meeting across from the Legislative Building at 5:30. Because some of these plans are fluid (for example, the time for the information session for next Monday has just been changed to 3:00 because of the large response), I would suggest that you go to the NAACP’s website to confirm times before you show up either at Davie Street or at the Legislative Building.
To see a powerful seven-minute interview with Vernon Tyson, click here. Many of you know Vernon – United Methodist clergy, leader in civil rights work in NC (despite his protest to the contrary in this interview), and a recipient of the NC Council of Churches’ Distinguished Service Award. He was among those arrested earlier this week, and he issues a direct call to clergy and lay leaders to join the Moral Monday movement, naming the NC Council of Churches specifically.
If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
–George Reed, Executive Director