|Moral Monday youth honor '63 bombing victims|
|Rally focuses on young activists|
|Published Wednesday, September 18, 2013 7:08 pm|
RALEIGH – The N.C. NAACP and the Youth and College Division of the N.C. NAACP had the 18th installment of Moral Monday on Monday afternoon.
This Moral Monday honored Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair - the four little girls who were killed 50 years ago in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Ala.
The Forward Together Movement is calling on change in regards to recent education and voting rights legislation in North Carolina.
Students, citizens and activists gathered at First Baptist Church on South Wilmington Street in downtown Raleigh and marched towards the governor’s mansion. Caskets, as representations of the four martyrs, were carried as people marched in a circle around the governor’s home. Reverend William Barber, president of the N.C. NAACP, said this loop was symbolic of people going around the state demanding change.
“It is sad that we would have to gather like this 50 years later, but we will,” he said.
Many murmured in distaste when it was said that there are not enough chairs in classrooms but plenty of beds for students in prison. Barber said it is becoming harder to vote and harder to get an education but easier for people to carry guns on college campuses.
Barber’s son, William Barber Jr., said that we are in the midst of a critical time.
“We are seeing some of the worst attacks on students that we’ve ever seen,” Barber Jr. said.
Isaiah Daniels, the community chair for the Youth and College Division of the N.C. NAACP, said that we are seeing millions of student’s voting rights taken.
“We will march and will not stop,” he said.
Fifty years ago, 18 days after the March on Washington, when Barber said Coretta Scott King described it as if heaven had touched earth, people in the movement felt “a hell like they had never felt before.”
Four little girls died in an explosion when a bomb went off inside their church during their Sunday school lesson - “Love your enemies.”
Barber said the blood of these girls tell us “don’t you dare go backwards.” He said that he respects the government leaders but he will fight them.
“Too much blood has been shed for the rights we have,” he said. “The blood of these four girls and all the martyrs still cry out. It cries out against you today Governor McCrory, Speaker Tillis, … for attacking voting rights and defunding public education. This blood cries out to you … when you refer to the Voting Rights Act as a ‘headache.’”
Dominique Penny, the president of the Youth and College Division of the NAACP, said she prepared for this day by joining with various college chapters and youth councils and got together to mobilize and be engaged with the current voting/educational situation.
“We are trying to show that this issue is very serious and we all just want to show our concern,” she said. “This is strongly impacting us and the decisions that are being made are attacking us personally. The fact that this was 50 years ago, what happened with the four martyrs.”
Lauryn Collier, a senior at N.C. State University, said she was out representing her school’s chapter of the NAACP.
“I think this particular issue impacts young people and college students, which is obviously my demographic and that of my peers and the people I care about, and I think it’s important that we secure our future as well as that of the people who come after us.”
Wendell Tabb, a theater arts teacher at Hillside High School, agrees that it is important for youth to be involved in what is going on in the government. He said Moral Monday has been a great opportunity for youth to show the public that they are not out of the picture and will fight for the rights they have as students.
“I’m out here first in honor and in memory of the four young ladies who were killed in Alabama,” he said. “As a 27-year veteran of education, I just find it really appalling that we have to fight for our rights as educators in 2013. We have come a long ways but we sure have a long way to go but it seems as though we are going backwards.”
“I find it saddening that we still have to fight for the same thing,” said Maurita Harris, an N.C. State University sophomore. “But I find it empowering that we still as whole can come together to fight.”
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