The NC Council of Churches is proud to publish a brand new e-book collection of testimonies from Moral Mondays. With 32 short vignettes from North Carolinians across the state, Voices of Moral Mondays tells the story of everyday folks being motivated to speak out on account of their faith. Many, though not all, of the accounts describe what it was like to engage in civil disobedience and be arrested by the authorities. Click here to download the free e-book.
By Stephen Boyd, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem
I participated in Moral Mondays — came to three rallies and was arrested on June 3 — to bear witness, that is, to call attention to what the North Carolina Legislature was doing to rip apart the common “garment of destiny” in our state.
When I looked closely at the legislative agenda of many of the newly installed super-majority, I was dumbfounded. These folks were in the midst of a frenzied attempt to cut off half a million low-income people, including seniors, veterans and children, from Medicaid coverage; to cut off women, many low-income, from access to safe, affordable health care, including pap smears, mammograms, as well as legal abortion procedures; to cut off more than a hundred thousand people in our state from unemployment benefits, while they looked for a new job — in an economy wrecked by irresponsible lending and security practices by financial institutions that were bailed out by our public money; to freeze teachers’ salaries and stop incentive programs that encouraged teachers to further their education; to eliminate the Racial Justice Act — the only law we had to root out racial bias in the administration of the death penalty; to make it harder for seniors, low-income citizens, and college students to vote. And they succeeded.
Do they want working women, seniors, veterans, teachers, poor children, the unemployed, college students, and African American men to self-deport — to leave the state — to disappear? Who is it they believe we do not need?
This morning I had oatmeal for breakfast. I thought about those who tilled the soil, planted the seed, harvested the oats, drove them to the processing plant, ran the machines that processed the grain, those who trucked the finished product to Harris Teeter, stocked it, and checked me out at the register.
It takes a village even to eat breakfast. Who in this chain do I not need? Who do we not need? Don’t each and all of them deserve to be safe; to have a roof over their heads at night; to receive an education; to receive proper health care; to put sufficient food on the table; to be free from unwarranted search, seizure and arrest; to participate in deciding who makes public policy on these and other matters critical for their well-being? If I want oatmeal in my pantry, everyone in this chain needs opportunities to pursue what they need.
Dr. King reminded us that “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” It is, therefore, in the deepest and truest self-interest of each of us that we increase, not decrease, access to our common resources, educational opportunities, health care, and a fair justice system. The recent legislature has significantly decreased those opportunities and, by so doing, threatens to shred our common garment. For me Moral Mondays, shed a light on those threats, so that more people will see what needs repair.