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Dozens Arrested in Peaceful NC Protests Against GOP

This is what a movement looks like.

More than 200 people gathered to support the people arrested for peaceably protesting at the North Carolina General Assembly building in Raleigh, North Carolina.

This is the powerful message of a growing movement in the state. Gathered together on "Moral Mondays," a coalition of activist North Carolinians of all races and ethnicities, young and the old, put their bodies on the line. Many were arrested as they tried to defend and advance civil and human rights.

This is not black people going out solo to fight back. This is truly a multi-cultural coalition-pulled together by the NC NAACP, Democracy NC, religious groups, student groups, workers . . . reflecting the best of North Carolina.

 

 

The NC Democratic Party blog had this piece by Jaymes Powell Jr.

 

Moral Monday: The Movement

Hundreds of civil rights leaders, workers, clergy, educators, health professionals and everyday people pledge to peacefully protest and happily go to jail to stop what many consider harsh, unprecedented legislation the North Carolina GOP has produced this year. Republicans are not bothered by the noise, they say, but the sound of a popular uprising is getting louder and louder.

The shouts will likely grow louder next week protesters say.

Disputing the Republican run legislature, groups from around the state will gather for peaceful protest and civil disobedience, leading to mass arrests —1960's and 70's style — every week from now until further notice. The groups believe the GOP's behavior is so out of hand that old school tactics are called for.

The people are speaking and they're making sure the Republicans hear it. "I'm tired of this and it's time for action. It's been time for a while, but now people are getting angry about what [the Republican-led General Assembly is] doing. The laws they want? It's unbelievable, I'm marching for the same things I did in the 60's.  I didn't think I'd have to do this again, but they're dragging us backward," 73 year-old Durham resident Barbra Ulery said as she and others cheered each arrested protester being loaded onto a police bus outside of the state Legislative Building.

Asked if throwback tactics harkening images of Martin Luther King Jr., Golden Frinks or Vernon Tyson marching through the Tar Heel state was the answer to Republican legislation, Ulery said surely. "It works. It worked before. I'm just sorry the Republicans are making us do it again for the same reasons. You would think some people would have learned from history."  

Chris Hinton has posted a series of Moral Mondays videos.

The Daily Kos continues to cover the protests in Raleigh, in great detail and photographic wonder. Their report includes some of the reasoning behind the protests, as well as a date to circle for every North Carolinians's calendar:

More arrests are expected on June 3, which is expected to be a "super-Moral Monday" called by the [North Carolina] NAACP and its coalition partners. These acts of civil disobedience are in protest of the Republican supermajority's ramrodding of nearly 2,000 bills -- many of them designed to decimate public education, deny/restrict access to health insurance, kneecap labor rights, seize local control from elected municipal governments, restrict women's access to reproductive healthcare, expand firearms permissions, eviscerate oversight boards, permit exploitation of public lands, implement "fracking" and other environmental abuses, and suppress voter rights -- through the state legislature since the end of January.

Democracy North Carolina partnered with students at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies to produced this short documentary about the history of voting rights in North Carolina.

 

North Carolina Historians Jailed for Protesting Voting Rights Abuses

 

If North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R) is concerned about his place in history, it looks like he's got something to worry about. Several of the world's top historians, three of whom appear in the video below, have been arrested in recent days protesting what Rev. Dr. William Barber II called an "avalanche of extremist policies that threaten health care, education, voting rights." McCrory has said he will sign bills that threaten the poor, the elderly, and minorities while giving tax cuts to the 23 wealthiest families in the state.

The civil disobedience campaign is being led by Barber, head of the North Carolina NAACP. Each Friday for the past three weeks, they have announced their intentions for the following Monday. So far, over 50 people have been arrested.

In a widely read op-ed published on Thursday in the Raleigh News and Observer, William Chafe of Duke University and Jacquelyn Dowd Hall of UNC Chapel Hill wrote:

This week, we were arrested at the General Assembly. We chose the path of civil disobedience -- along with 29 others -- as a means of calling attention to the headlong assault on our state's history by the governor and the state legislature.

We are not radicals. Each of us has been president of the Organization of American Historians, the leading professional organization of all American historians. We cherish the history we have spent our lives studying. Yet now we see a new generation in Raleigh threatening to destroy the very history we have spent our lives celebrating.

They conclude their op-ed:

This political juggernaut runs totally contrary to what North Carolina has stood for during the last half century. It represents class warfare against the middle class and the working-class residents of our state. Justice lies at the core of our civic life. And we are all responsible for sustaining that justice.

As Robert F. Kennedy told students in apartheid South Africa in 1966, "Each time a [person] stands up ... to improve the lot of others, or strike out against injustice, he sends a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walks of oppression and resistance."

That is why we stood up, why we got arrested.

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