fresh voices from the front lines of change







Please watch Rev. William Barber on All In With Chris Hayes, talking about voting rights.

Voter Fraud?

Republicans have been engaged in a strategy to convince (scare people into believing) people there is something called “voter fraud.” They are doing this so they can follow up with legislation that keeps lots of people (who might vote against them) from being able to vote at all. Along with “voter-ID” laws, they are shutting down early voting, Sunday voting (think Black churches), easy voter registration, and other things that enable more people to vote.

There is no voter fraud, and anyway the kind of fraud Republicans claim is occurring would not be affected by requiring voter-ID. I mean, are thousands and thousands of people showing up at polls claiming to be someone else? Really?

But requiring certain types of ID before a citizen can vote turns out to affect hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. Many of these Republican states are also requiring certain kinds of birth certificates before they can even get ID. The idea is to inconvenience enough poor, elderly and young people, mostly non-white, making it so difficult that many people just give up. Turnout is already low, which favors Republicans, so making it even lower favors Republicans even more.

Rev. Barber And Moral Mondays

In North Carolina Tea Party Republicans have been, among other things, working to restrict voting rights. In response a Moral Mondays movement has sprung up. Reverend Dr. William J. Barber, II has been leading the Moral Mondays crusade in North Carolina.

I wrote about moral Mondays and Rev. Barber in June in North Carolina State Senator Calls ‘Moral Monday’ Protesters ‘Moral Morons’,

What’s going on? Republicans took over and started enacting severe, cruel policies against the poor and minorities, while giving tax cuts to the rich and businesses. …

In response, clergy, the NAACP and progressive organizations organized Moral Monday protests at the state capitol. Rev. William J. Barber is president of the North Carolina conference of more than 100 NAACP Branches, and leads the NAACP’s ‘Moral Mondays’ campaign in Raleigh.

And more in Democracy Is Rising In The States,

Madison. Occupy… Now in North Carolina it’s Moral Mondays. … Now people are turning out every Monday in Raleigh to protest cruel cuts by corporate-funded Republicans.

Terrance Heath: Southern Revival: The Righteous Progressivism of Moral Mondays,

The Moral Mondays protests in North Carolina have captured the attention and the imaginations of progressives all over the country, but the movement itself did not spring up overnight. The movement had its beginnings in 2006, when Rev. Barber and others, recognizing the need for a new form of “fusion politics,” began building the Historic Thousands on Jones Street movement (HKonJ).

Jeff Bryant, ‘Education Spring’ Rebellions Get Noticed At The Top,

At the state capital of North Carolina, boisterous “Moral Monday” demonstrations against the state’s conservative government have made public education funding part of a rallying cry for a more progressive agenda in that state.

Rev. Barbor Receives Paul Wellstone Citizen Leadership Award

Rev. Barber received the Paul Wellstone Citizen Leadership Award at CAF’s Gala in November. It starts with Paula Poundstone introducing Rep Donna Edwards who introduces Rev Barber with a video at about 5:30. Rev. Barber speaks at 8:13.

Please watch Barber speak about state-based grassroots movements. (The video at 5:30 is also great, and gives you an idea of what is going on with Moral Mondays.)


Read Bill Scher’s look at the activism of Rev. Dr. William Barber II in Why Rev. William Barber Is Receiving The Paul Wellstone Award,

Barber is restoring honor to civil disobedience with protests that are, in his own words, “based on Gandhi and Dr King’s brilliant examples of nonviolent direct action.” Instead of inflicting harm in order to inflict greater harm, Barber is simply disrupting the halls of power in order to make power heed people in need.

Paul Wellstone would be proud.

Keep an eye on this, things are stirring for a very big 2014. Rev. Barber has invited the country to come to Raleigh for a mass rally on Saturday February 8. We will keep you informed.

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