Moral Monday Protests Return

The capitol city will be ringing with shouts, songs and sirens as Moral Monday protests return for the first full week of the legislative session at 5:00 p.m.

Groups in conjunction with the movement, such as the North Carolina NAACP, encourage North Carolinians to organize in defense of their civil rights and influence legislators to include a more liberal perception in state policy.

Protestors often congregate in thousands and gather inside the General Assembly to voice their opposition to the state’s Republican led government and their policies regarding issues such as women’s rights and abortion, tax legislation and public education.

Last year’s demonstration saw almost 1,000 arrests. Many of them have yet to be tried. Some citizens among those arrested include the community’s own “Orange County Five”, former mayor of Carrboro Mark Chilton, Carrboro Alderpersons Damon Seils, Michelle Johnson and Sammy Slade, and Chapel Hill Town Council member Donna Bell who were arrested in June of 2013 in the movement’s “Mega Moral Monday.”

The North Carolina Legislative Services Commission met Thursday for the first time since 1999 and announced a change that limits where and how citizens can protest in the General Assembly. According to the commission’s new rules, Raleigh police are permitted to remove demonstrators creating an “imminent disturbance”, which includes “singing, clapping, shouting, playing instruments or using sound amplification equipment.”

NC Voter ID Court Battles Likely To Be Lengthy

Protesters rally for voter rights at Moral Monday; Photo by Rachel Nash

CHAPEL HILL – Our state became the 34th state in the nation to require voters to show a photo I.D. at the polls after Gov. Pat McCrory (Rep.) signed it into law last week. The new measure will bring sweeping changes to the state’s election process by reducing the early-voting period by a week, abolishing same-day voter registration and ending straight-party voting. The passage of the bill was immediately met with lawsuits filed in federal court questioning its constitutionality.

Mark Dorosin, managing attorney at UNC’s Center for Civil Rights and a member of the Orange County Board of Commissioners, has been following the course of this legislation since it was proposed in the General Assembly.

“A full and final resolution of the case could take several months or potentially more than a year, so I think that this issue will be tied up in litigation for quite some time,” Dorosin said.

Backers of the Voter I.D. Law, set to take effect in the 2016 election, said it will protect against voter fraud, but Dorosin said he believes fraud is not a problem in this state. He also added that the other provisions of the bill  have nothing to do with preventing voter fraud.

“There is no basis or any justification, I don’t think, for getting rid of same-day registration or early voting, other than to keep people from voting,” Dorosin said.

Several lawsuits have been filed in federal court after McCrory signed the voter I.D. bill into law on August 12. The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina Foundation and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed a suit on the grounds that provisions of the new law would unduly burden the right to vote and discriminates against African-American voters in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The N.C. NAACP and the Advancement Project filed a separate suit on the grounds that the law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which bans voting procedures that discriminate based on race or membership in one of the language minority groups. The NAACP also said the voting restrictions violate the 14th and 15th amendments.

“The thing about the North Carolina case is that it is just not about the Voter ID Law, but in the case filed by the NAACP, challenges the range of voter suppression components of the new election law,” Dorosin said.

Groups in North Carolina aren’t the first to challenge Voter I.D. related legislation. In Pennsylvania, voter I.D. legislation has been in legal limbo since Republican Governor Tom Corbett signed the bill into law in March of 2012.

Dorosin said he believes court battles concerning the N.C. Voter I.D. will be more challenging than other cases in other states because the provisions of the bill are broader.

Protesters Gear Up For 3 Moral Mondays Across NC

Moral Monday in Raleigh; Photo by Rachel Nash

CHAPEL HILL – The N.C. NAACP’s Moral Monday Movement is spreading to three locations across North Carolina on August 19. Rallies are happening in Charlotte, Burnsville, and Manteo in the Outer Banks. This new series of protests comes two weeks after the “Mountain Moral Monday” in Asheville drew record crowds and surpassed totals for the past demonstrations at the General Assembly in Raleigh.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that police estimated more than 5,000 people had gathered in Pack Square Park for the Mountain Moral Monday rally by 6 p.m. Later estimates doubled that amount.

During the 13 weeks of protesting in the capital city, thousands attended the demonstrations, and more than 900 people were arrested while rallying against the Republican-led legislature. The protesters say recently passed legislation is “regressive” and has made attacks against education, social and economic equality, and voting rights. The movement has captured national attention from media outlets such as the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News, to name a few.

“We are traveling across the state with a moral and constitutional vision, mobilizing and calling on North Carolinians from every background to action, from the coast to the mountains, because the [Governor Pat] McCrory, [House of Representative Speaker Thom] Tillis and [Senate President Pro Tempore] Phil Berger Agenda is trying to turn this state 180 degrees in the wrong direction,” said Rev. William Barber, NAACP State Chapter President and Moral Monday protest leader, in a statement. “This trio and their extreme conservative supermajority have passed the most regressive and immoral legislation this state has seen in decades, or perhaps even longer.”

The NAACP and other groups hosting the protests promise to go to all 13 of North Carolina’s congressional districts in honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington on August 28.



Burnsville, NC

Monday, August 19, 2013

5:30 pm, Burnsville Town Square



Charlotte, NC

Monday, August 19, 2013

5pm, Marshall Park in downtown Charlotte



Manteo, NC

Monday, August 19, 2013

Roanoke IslandFestivalPark in downtown Manteo

Doors open at 4:00 pm and program begins at 6:00 pm