|Activists marching on moral grounds|
|N.C. NAACP leads capitol rally on Feb. 8|
|Published Wednesday, February 5, 2014 1:27 pm|
Porgressive activists are gearing up for the next round of rallies in Raleigh.
A coalition of civil rights, women’s rights, faith and labor groups led by the North Carolina NAACP, will assemble on Feb. 8 at the state capitol for what organizers call a “Moral March” to protest laws passed by the Republican-dominated General Assembly last year.
“At this year’s Moral March on Raleigh, people from all corners of North Carolina will continue to challenge the immoral, unconstitutional policies from Gov. Pat McCrory, Budget Director Art Pope and their allies in the General Assembly,” N.C. NAACP President Rev. William Barber said. “But we will also renew our commitment to our Five-Point Moral Agenda and continue to stand for what we want to see in our great state. With love and faith, the Moral March on Feb. 8 will kick off a year of nonviolent direct action, litigation and grassroots voter education and empowerment. We will keep moving forward together, not one step back.”
Rally participants will help map out sustained direct-action campaigns for the year, including grassroots voter turnout programs for the mid-term elections. Barber, who launched the Forward Together Moral Movement, is expected to announce a five-point mobilization plan and a 21st century version of Freedom Summer in North Carolina.
Forward Together is an extension of the annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street People’s Assembly held the last seven years in Raleigh. Thousands of marchers gather in front of the General Assembly building in early February to lobby lawmakers for progressive policies. There are five fundamental demands for this year’s march:
• Secure pro-labor, anti-poverty policies that insure economic sustainability;
• Provide well-funded, quality public education for all;
• Stand up for the health of every North Carolinian by promoting health care access and environmental justice;
• Address inequalities in the criminal justice system;
• Protect and expand voting rights for people of color, women, immigrants, the elderly and students to safeguard fair democratic representation.
Last year’s Moral Monday protests in Raleigh resulted in 945 arrests on charges of trespassing and other misdemeanors last summer when activists tried to petition lawmakers on what progressives described as attacks on the poor, voting rights and reproductive rights.
Over half of the cases that went to trial have been dismissed.
Organizers insist no one who follows the directions of the NAACP marshals and leadership will be arrested on Saturday and no civil disobedience actions are planned before, during or after the demonstration.
The march convenes at Shaw University in Raleigh at 9 a.m. and the procession toward the state capitol starts at 10:30 a.m.
“Last year, they had their time to vote and abuse power,” Barber said. “This year, we will vote with our voices to show the power of the people.”
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