This Valentine’s Day – Saturday, February 14 – join the Forward Together Moral Movement’s Mass Moral March on Raleigh in North Carolina.
The march is a protest against extremist right-wing policies that are having detrimental effects on the people of North Carolina, but its message is about more than one state. Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, organizer of Forward Together and president of the North Carolina NAACP, believes that the problems North Carolina is facing are examples of policies the Tea Party and Koch brothers will try to impose throughout the country.
“We are pushing for policies that are constitutionally consistent, morally defensible, and economically sane,” Rev. Barber said in a call with progressive writers organized by the Campaign for America’s Future. “We’re marching for love and justice. We’re marching to revive the heart of North Carolina and the heart of politics.”
It is important to have people from all over the country converge in Raleigh for this event because “to challenge the state houses is in fact a national movement that we must have in this country and it must be raised from indigenous leadership in every state particularly across the South,” Rev. Barber said.
North Carolina elected a Republican governor in 2012, Pat McCrory, and a Republican majority in both state houses for the first time since 1870. Forward Together grew out of the “Moral Mondays” series of protests in North Carolina that began in 2013 in response to actions by the state’s Republican supermajority that included restricting the right to vote, blocking an increase in the minimum wage, and cutting spending for Medicare and public education.
Republicans lost the popular vote but still managed to win big due to the most extreme redistricting plan in North Carolina since the 19th Century passing in 2010. The U.S. Department of Justice approved the redistricting plan, but the North Carolina NAACP is fighting it in court. According to Rev. Barber, “they stacked and packed almost 50% of Black voters into limited districts, which set up a system where in 2012 we had 120,000 to 150,000 more people vote for progressive candidates than these extremists, but extremists won because of the way the votes had been stacked packed and bleached.”
The choice of language is no coincidence. Conservatives have been discriminating against LGBT rights and women’s reproductive freedom for decades under the pretense of morality. Rev. Barber recounts progressives in the 1960s and 1970s who fought for civil rights on the basis of morality and thinks it’s time for progressives to reclaim moral language. “By using moral language we’ve been able to bring together Republicans, Democrats, young, old, gay, straight, Black, White, Brown, people of all different race, creed, colors, and sexualities who are literally fighting to restore the heart of politics in North Carolina,” he said.
“We believe 2016 will be a very different reality,” said Rev. Barber, who says the march is “not an end; it’s a beginning.”
To join the movement sign up for next Saturday’s march, February 14th, with the North Carolina NAACP. For more information read Rev. Barber’s statement, watch videos on the Forward Together movement, and visit North Carolina NAACP’s site.