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 Patricia B. Anthony, Clayton
On June 10, I chose to exercise my Constitutional right to petition my legislature, to express my concerns about legislation they had passed and were considering. To be clear, we did not go there to be arrested, we went to present our grievances to the legislature. I chose to remain standing when the police ordered us to disperse, and I was arrested, handcuffed, and brought to the Wake County Detention Center. My reasons for feeling so strongly are many.
I have been feeling as if the state legislature is going through the capital with a bulldozer, pushing back decades of progress in education, in health care, in civil rights, in voting rights, in environmental protection, in workers’ rights – all things I care about and that I believe are essential for us to live as free people. I felt helpless and hopeless. I saw some news coverage of the Moral Monday protests, and then I saw video of Rev. Vernon Tyson, an 84-year-old retired Methodist minister, talking about his experience getting arrested. He inspired me to follow his lead.
I participated in the demonstrations as a supporter for a few weeks before I finally took the steps that led to my arrest. Each week my frustration and anger grew stronger at the way the legislature was treating the “least of these,” the ones Jesus told us to care for. Many of their decisions seemed to me not even fiscally sound but just mean-spirited. Turning down money to provide health care for half a million people who can’t afford it?
Those people are still going to get sick. And they’ll be sicker when diagnosed, because they haven’t had regular care. And they’ll go to the emergency room, the most expensive place to get treatment, because they don’t have any other options; and they won’t pay for it because they don’t have the money. So who pays for that? We all do, don’t we?
Finally, in the company of many like-minded citizens, I took my stand. I was arrested with teachers, social workers, clergy, students, retirees, but no corporate CEOs to my knowledge. I feel it was the right thing to do, and I would do it again without hesitation.