CHAPEL HILL – The Moral Monday movement is revving back up as the North Carolina NAACP and other activists prepare to rally once again for the Moral March on Raleigh February 8.
An NAACP affiliated group, Historic Thousands on Jones St. (HKonJ), is hosting the event which kicks off at 9:30 a.m. on Shaw University’s campus.
HKonJ hosts a mass assembly each year on the second Saturday in February.
Chapel Hill Town Council member Maria Palmer said she will march on Jones Street. She was arrested during the first Moral Monday on April 29 of last year, along with protest leader and State NAACP Chapter President Reverend William Barber.
“There is an understanding of the importance of this movement, and more people are coming out than before. I think five years ago, they might think, ‘Oh, things are not so bad. These are extremists. Why are they protesting?’ And now, at least there is an awareness that, yes, things are getting worse. We are going backwards.”
Barber spoke to thousands as they attended the 13 Moral Monday peaceful protests in Raleigh during the summer of 2013, rallying against what they called a “regressive agenda” of the N.C. Legislature.
Close to a thousand people were arrested inside the General Assembly, protesting against legislation which they believed hurt the poor and minority groups, and negatively impacted women’s rights and education, among other issues.
“We hope this will be the largest march since the days of Selma with people coming together,” Barber said during a teleconference Thursday. “We will not only march, but we will lay out our mobilization plan because we have really only just begun to fight. Fifty years ago there was a freedom summer—we are going to have a whole year of freedom fighting for freedom and equality.”
Twenty local Moral Mondays were held across the North Carolina, and the movement is now spreading to other states.
State House Representative for Orange County Verla Insko (Dem.) attended several of the demonstrations last year.
“I do support their effort. I appreciate everything that they are doing. I believe they are on the right side,” Insko said. “They focus a lot, not just on voter ID, but on this income inequality. That is going to be a big issue at the state level as well as at the national level.”
Palmer said she will continue to rally in 2014 because she believes many state lawmakers are ignoring the movement’s message.
‘Some people say, ‘Oh, you were expecting a miracle.’ I say no, I was expecting some kind of effort on their part to at least appear to be reconciling the different points of view,” she said.