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Moral Monday's point: N.C. policy ‘just wrong’
Unemployment cuts focus of latest rally
 
Published Tuesday, July 2, 2013 11:53 am
by Kimberly Harrington, For The Charlotte Post

RALEIGH – At 12:01 a.m. on July 1, 70,000 North Carolinians became independent of unemployment benefits – and the outrage was enough to set off fireworks.

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PHOTO/KIMBERLY HARRINGTON
N.C. NAACP President Rev. William Barber makes a point during the July 1 Moral Monday rally in Raleigh. The ninth "Moral Monday" protested the end of federal unemployment insurance for long-term jobless in the state and cuts in weekly benefits for new claims.


The overriding theme of the ninth wave of Moral Monday rallies in Raleigh centered around state lawmakers cutting unemployment benefits for new claims and ending them completely for those on extended federal unemployment benefits.


North Carolina has the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the country at 8.8 percent, yet is the first state to disqualify itself from the U.S. Labor Department’s Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program that helped the long-term unemployed.


For new claims, the new law reduces the amount of maximum weekly benefits from $530 to $350 and slashes the number of weeks from 26 to as few as 12 to 20 weeks, depending on the state’s jobless rate.


But those on the extended program lost benefits Sunday – and another 100,000 are expected to be affected by the end of the year.


“This morning, 70,000 North Carolinians woke up from a restless sleep last night only to face a dark day because our governor signed off on toxic legislation that stripped us from our immediate ability to take care of ourselves and our families,” said Yara Allen, an unemployed mother at the NAACP-led rally on Monday.


“With the swipe of his pen, (Gov. Pat McCrory) could have diverted our pain. But since he didn’t, there is no rest in our homes. So I’m here to suggest that if there is no rest in our house, there should be no rest in that house,” she said, pointing to the back of Legislative Building from Halifax Mall where the rally took place. “If there’s no justice for our house, there should be no peace in that house.”


Student Javan Richardson roused the crowd on how the new law will affect children.


“Listen, listen, listen, can you hear the cries of the children whose parents will not be able to pay their mortgages, buy school clothes or purchase instruments,” he said. “What about the student who wants to play football but parents can’t afford to purchase their uniforms ...What about us? Do you really care? We are sitting in the classroom worried about being homeless or having no lights … Hear the cry of the children!”


The Rev. Kenneth Cooper, pastor of Christian Faith Baptist Church in Raleigh, referenced the prophet Isaiah from the Bible when he asked the people, “Is this an acceptable day of the Lord?”


Cooper posed a similar question to McCrory, asking if his tenure has been acceptable to the masses of North Carolina. In the governor’s absence, Cooper read a litany of Republican-led policies, including cutting unemployment and cutting Medicaid to 500,000 people.

“Mr. Governor, this is not an acceptable day of the masses of the people. Far more tragic for you though, Mr. Governor, this is not an acceptable day of the Lord.”


The NAACP organized Moral Monday rallies, but it encompasses allies from varying faiths, ethnicities and social causes. On Monday, Rabbi Judy Shindler of Charlotte was moved to participate. She said as a congregation, their social justice and action priorities are education, poverty, affordable housing and domestic abuse.


“As Jews, our sanctuaries must be built with windows so that we can see the world outside,” she said. “We are required to create a world that supports rather than subjugates others. We are called not to abandon the needy but to provide for them.”


Lawmakers and supporters of the new changes say cutting unemployment will help North Carolina pay off its debt to Washington three years early and that unemployment compensation was not designed to pay long-term benefits.


“Stop lying with your talking points and saying you did this to save North Carolina money,” said the Rev. William Barber, state NAACP president, in his opening remarks. “That’s just a bold-faced lie. Zero is the amount of dollars of costs it would have cost this state to extend unemployment.” One hundred percent of the cost would have been paid by the federal government.


Barber said McCrory is using his public power –given to him by the people – to now hurt the vulnerable. “We must raise our moral dissent because you are wrong, just wrong,” Barber said.


Anson County Commissioner Vancine Sturdivant attended her first Moral Monday rally.


“To think with some families, the husband and the wife are unemployed and to know there will not be one dime going into that home, no one could keep me from here today. I am going to call my senators and let them know how I feel.”


N.C. Senator Michael Woodard of Durham said he doesn’t know if the protests and rallies are making a difference to his colleagues, but where it needs to make a difference is to people back home.  “You all need to take this message home. People back in your home counties need to hear this. They are the ones who will make a difference next year; you all need to turn these folks out who need to go home and send us some progressive leadership.”


Jimmy Huggins of Raleigh also participated for the first time Monday. He said it was exciting and that people seemed to be “fired up about what’s going on.” He said he came because he had just attended his family reunion and the happenings with the state were a hot topic, so he was motivated to attend on behalf of his great-grandparents, his ancestors, his daughter and his nieces and nephews.


“This reminds me of the 60s, what our parents had to do when they were growing up,” he said.


“It’s like it’s happening all over again.”




Comments

To the person that made the comment towards the unemployed mother. I guess everything is peaches n cream for you to make a statement towards someone who you don't know or have an understanding of what she's facing. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says, "Wherefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." We up today and then we are down tomorrow. Oh! By the way they didn't charge no one in my area a fee to the event. We have the lowest rate in the state(Richmond County) at 12% unployment! I wish that those who make the decisions for this great state could do like the show wife swap n allow the politicians to swap with people who are doing their best in life but just can't seem to swim through the currents of changes in the government! They should swap out for at least 12 to 20 weeks! Then see how the pen writes after that. Wonderful article Mrs. K. Harrington
Posted on July 4, 2013
 
Sounds like NC misses Perdue. Welcome to South Carolina's pain. It sure is hard being a liberal in the south these days.....This is why you've got to vote!
Posted on July 3, 2013
 
That unemployed mother had the time and money to go to a rally. What she should have been doing was looking for a job. Unemployment is there to get you by until you find a job, not there to become a way of life!
Posted on July 3, 2013
 
There are two very interesting things about this article. The first is that at least one Pastor is dedicated to getting the word out that racial equality not only has not been achieved, it is slipping.

The second interesting thing about this article is that there appears to be one Pastor trying to fix the problem. I do not personally know Reverend Barber but I know what a Pastor is charged with in terms of the yoke service. Is your Pastor concerned with this struggle or is it concerned with serving up promises prosperity, a bigger grander church, a really good sound system (like a Bose).

is your pastor trying to lift us African Americans up to where we can ALL fulfill the legacy our slave ancestors left by enduring the inhuman treatment they were forced to endure. Our legacy also lies in the strength of character required to survive a terrible ordeal in being brought to the United States where only 4 out of 100 of our ancestors lived to be 60 years old.

Perhaps we need to channel Dr. King in and out of the church. We are much better than how we relate to one another. Or are there people who think looking to the left and greeting that person is an affirmation of our solidarity. I don't know about any of you who read this but I am an African American and that makes me a very, very powerful person. Amen?
Posted on July 3, 2013
 
That student was my grandson, and the governor must not be concerned about the children well being. He is motivated and want to have a voice for the children. Keep him in prayer as he continue to speak to the nations. Thanks and God Bless the state on N.C.
Posted on July 2, 2013
 

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