NAACP’s William Barber Back In Court For Moral Monday Charges

WAKE COUNTY – NAACP state chapter president Reverend William Barber and 11 other Moral Monday protesters were back in court Tuesday on charges of disrupting lawmakers during an April rally inside the state Legislative Building.

The group was the first of more than 900 people arrested during the weekly Moral Monday peaceful protests against legislation passed by Republican-controlled General Assembly during the summer.

The protesters were charged with trespassing, failing to disperse and violating Legislative Building rules.

One day of testimony in the trials of Rev. William Barber and the other 11 protesters was held in October, and the trials are expected to continue Wednesday, multiple news outlets reported.

General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver took to the witness stand Tuesday morning, explaining the rules about gatherings at the Legislative Building, WRAL reported. Defense attorneys argued that the rules, which were drafted in 1987, are vague and can be interpreted differently.

A handful of protesters have been convicted and are appealing, and a few others were acquitted. Charges against dozens of protesters were dropped after they agreed to perform community service under a deal offered by Wake County prosecutors.

Moral Monday Returns To Raleigh

RALEIGH – The N.C. NAACP’s Moral Monday protests return to Raleigh this week after holding the peaceful demonstrations in other cities across the state.

This time, college students will lead the rally to protest of legislation passed by the Republican-led legislature and Governor Pat McCrory, which they say hurts education and voting rights.

Protesters are set to meet at 4:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church on Wilmington St. in downtown Raleigh and will then head to the Governor’s Mansion at 5:30 following a rally led by students of the organizations such as NC NAACP Youth & College Division, NC Student Power Union, Cause and NC Vote Defenders.

“Young people have always been an active and important part of the Forward Together Movement,” said Reverend William Barber, NAACP State Chapter President and Moral Monday movement leader, in a statement. “As school begins across the state, they will continue to organize and build this movement in response to the immoral and unconstitutional attacks on student voting rights and public education. This is a Movement, not a moment!”

The Moral Monday demonstrations, which were held over the summer in Raleigh, saw more than 900 arrests in the General Assembly.

Moral Monday News Conference To Highlight Workers’ Rights

Rev. Barber addressing the crowd in front of the Capital Building; Photo by Alex Curley

RALEIGH – Moral Monday returns this week to Raleigh for the 16th installment of the peaceful events, but it won’t be in the form of a mass gathering this time.

The N.C. NAACP and the labor community are set to hold a news conference on Labor Day for workers’ rights.

Activists say they are upset over legislation passed by the General Assembly which they believe hurts workers.

Speakers at the event include Reverend William Barber, NAACP State Chapter President and leader of the Forward Together Movement; MaryBe McMillan of the AFL-CIO; and Baldimar Velasquez of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee.

The news conference will be held at 11:00 a.m. at the N.C. AFL-CIO headquarters at 1408 Hillsborough St.

“On Labor Day the Forward Together Movement will join the labor community to stand united against anti-worker legislation passed by the extreme and immoral North Carolina General Assembly,” said Barber said in a statement. “We believe that all workers deserve a living wage, benefits, a safe workplace, and a voice on the job, especially today when working people are struggling more than ever.”

Barber will also announce plans at the news conference for potential protests to take place this week as the General Assembly prepares to reconvene Tuesday for a special veto session.

12th Moral Monday Rallies For Voter Rights

Photo by Rachel Nash: Michelle Johnson, of the Carrboro BoA, meditating in peaceful protest 

RALEIGH – The 12th Moral Monday in Raleigh focused on voting rights in response to the proposed changes to state election laws, which many have said will harm voter rights. Seventy-three people were arrested, bringing the running total to 925 since the rallies began in late April.

“I think every citizen should be guaranteed the right to vote. Requiring an I.D. is not difficult for many of us, but it is for some. I don’t think it’s fair to suppress anybody,” said Chapel Hill resident Rif Riddick.

As this legislative session comes to a close, the N.C. NAACP said that won’t stop them from taking their protests across the state. Moral Monday convenes next week on Fayetteville Street for the march to the State Capitol Building. Throughout the month of August, local Moral Mondays will take place in select cities and communities across the state, including one in the works for Asheville, called “Mountain Moral Monday.” On August 28, to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, the NAACP will hold events in each of the 13 congressional districts in North Carolina.


It was likely the last time this legislative session that the Moral Monday crowd would gather inside the General Assembly, in protest of what they call the “regressive policies” of the Republican-led legislature.

State House leaders moved their Monday night session to 4 p.m., three hours earlier than normal, leaving the protesters in a mostly empty building. General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver announced that the building would be closing and said those who remained would be arrested. The protesters kept going nevertheless.

Before the event moved inside, Pastor Richard Edens of the United Church of Chapel Hill was one of more than a thousand rallying for voting rights on the lawn of Halifax Mall. Edens was arrested on July 1.

“With this country, with this state, with our community, it is supposed to be something that is expansive and inclusive. What we have seen with our legislature over this past year is something that has been exclusive and is narrowing its interests and keeping people out. Voting rights is just one thing where they are limiting who can participate,” Edens said.

Senate Republicans unveiled a new voter ID bill last week that would limit the forms of photo identification accepted at the polls. The new measure would require voters to show one of seven types of photo identification issued by the government, such as driver’s licenses, passports, non-driver I.D.s, and military or veteran cards. It’s more restrictive than the House version, as it would eliminate cards from UNC system colleges, state community colleges, local governments, private employers, and law enforcement agencies as acceptable forms of photo identification.

Matt Hughes, Chair of the Orange County Democratic Party, said he is worried about the negative impact this legislation might have on future elections.

“I think it is clear that this is being done to prevent students from being able to easily access the polls. I think that’s because the belief is that those are liberal voters, and they’ll be voting for Democrats and to me it is trying to play on an unleveled playing field,” Hughes said.

Hughes said he was also concerned about proposed legislation that would shrink the early voting period, end Sunday voting, and end same-day voter registration.

The election law changes normally would have been subject to authorization under the Voting Rights Act, but the Supreme Court’s recent decision exempted North Carolina from federal review until a new process is created by Congress.

Another issue against which the state NAACP is taking court action is the redistricting maps for North Carolina’s legislative and congressional seats drawn by Republicans in the Legislature.  State Democrats and others challenged the redistricting, calling it racial gerrymandering. Earlier this month, though, state Superior Court judges rejected their arguments and upheld the legislative and congressional boundaries.

“I do believe that the judges who ruled on the redistricting case are really off base. The maps that were drawn do not respect county lines like they are supposed to. The districts have really been gerrymandered and they really have to be looked at and re-drawn,” Hughes said.

NAACP State Chapter President and Moral Monday leader Reverend William Barber announced that the civil rights group will appeal the court’s decision.

“This legislature has eviscerated past commendable policies and taken us in the wrong direction, harming low-income and disadvantaged people in so many different ways,” said Jim Kocher, a resident of Chapel Hill for 30 years.


Moral Monday; Photo by Rachel Nash

Moral Monday; Photo by Rachel Nash

View of Moral Monday from atop the General Assembly

Negative Nat’l Press Might Hurt More Than NC’s Image

CHAPEL HILL – We never like to hear that North Carolina is being viewed in a negative light nationally, overshadowing the progressive efforts we’ve made locally. Recently, though, it seems our state can’t stay out of the spotlight, and for reasons many are not pleased about.

Chapel Hillian Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling in Raleigh feared that this negative press, sparked by policies rolling through the Republican-led General Assembly this session, will hurt the state’s business climate.

“We’re getting made fun of on the Daily Show, getting made fun of on the Colbert Reports, that sort of thing. You combine that with the more serious fact of getting chided by the New York Times, it seems like every week there’s a new thing getting a lot of attention where people outside the state are really sort of making fun of North Carolina,” Jensen said.

The New York Times published an editorial last week on the state recent policies with the headline: “The Decline of North Carolina.” 

“Ultimately if you get a reputation as a yokel state where the government is kind of crazy and that sort of thing, that’s bad for business recruitment and it makes businesses not want to move here and create jobs for the state,” Jensen said.

Last year, N.C. was ranked No. 4 on CNBC’s “America’s Top State’s for Business,” but this year dropped eight spots to No. 12 on the list. N.C. had previously been on the list each year since it was started in 2007.

“I think that’s one of the first signs that people outside of North Carolina sort of are waking up to the fact that North Carolina is getting extreme,” Jensen said. “That particular thing [NC dropping out of top 10 states for business] I think that maybe why you see the Republicans’ poll number getting so bad.”

Jensen explained that there is increasing dissatisfaction with the Republican majority in the House and Senate, driven by the less than transparent manner in which the abortion restriction bill was pushed through both houses. Only 34 percent of voters support the proposal, while 47 percent are opposed. 80 percent of voters think it’s inappropriate to combine abortion legislation with bills about motorcycle safety or Sharia Law. Those numbers are based on a PPP survey of 600 state voters between July 12 and July 14.

Jensen said there’s also been a major shift in voter opinion polls rating the job that N.C. Governor Pat McCrory is doing.

“This is the first time that we have ever found Governor Pat McCrory with a negative approval rating. Only 40 percent of the voters approve of the job he’s doing. 49 percent disapprove, and that’s a net 15 percent decline from last month.”

The numbers suggest that the Moral Monday protests against the policies of the General Assembly are viewed positively by a majority of North Carolinians. 45 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of the demonstrations whereas only 40 percent disapprove, according to Jensen.

The protests have caught the attention of national media outlets, such as MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN, who have sent camera crews to cover the weekly peaceful rallies that have resulted in more than 800 arrests.

“Nothing like this has ever happened in North Carolina,” Jensen said. “I think we’ve always been thought of as a pretty centrist but forward moving state that, especially more than any other states in the South, has been willing to move forward on key issues. What’s happened over the last two and a half years, but especially over the last six months, is something that’s very new for us.”

The 2012 election resulted in a Republican governor and a Republican-controlled General Assembly for only the second time in 140 years, but, Jensen said this could change in the next election.

“And when you ask people, ‘If there were a legislative election today, what party would you vote for?’ Democrats have a nine point lead, 51 percent to 42 percent, which is the biggest lead we have ever found for them on that measure,” Jensen said.

To view the full report by the PPP, click below:


11th Moral Monday To Focus On Women’s Rights

RALEIGH – The 11th Moral Monday is set for 5 p.m in Raleigh at Halifax Mall. More than 700 people have been arrested during the weekly protests against the Republican-led General Assembly. Monday’s rally will focus on women’s rights, just days after the state House of Representatives passed a controversial bill tightening abortion restrictions.

It was estimated that last week’s demonstration was the largest crowd so far, though the number of arrests were down from the previous week.

The Moral Monday Protests have gained the attention of national news media outlets such as MSNBC and Fox News. The New York Times published an editorial last week with the headline “The Decline of North Carolina” concerning recent legislation passed by the state and the resulting protests.

Rally leader and NAACP State Chapter President Reverend William Barber announced that voting rights will headline the Moral Monday on July 22. He’s also said the NAACP, on August 28, will hold demonstrations in each of North Carolina’s 13 Congressional Districts in honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

9th Moral Mon. Rallies Against Unemployment Cuts

170,000 North Carolinians could lose their unemployment benefits by year’s end

RALEIGH – For nine weeks, the North Carolina NAACP and other activists have gathered in Raleigh for Moral Mondays, to protest what they call the “regressive policies” of the NC General Assembly. More than 80 were arrested Monday, bringing the running total to almost 700. Many rallied for the roughly 70,000 North Carolinians who lost their long-term unemployment benefits this week due to a decision by NC lawmakers.

MaryBe McMillan, the Secretary and Treasurer of the NC AFL-CIO, partnered with the NAACP recently and has spoken at several Moral Mondays. She fought a long battle to try to convince state leaders to extend long-term unemployment benefits.

“Today is a really sad day. North Carolina officially became the cruelest state in the nation now that we’ve walked away from these benefits. We are the only state to do this, the only state to kick the long-term unemployed to the curb. I think what this legislature has done is indefensible,” McMillan said.

When the recession hit in 2008, the state was forced to borrow from the federal government as unemployment claims increased.

North Carolina was one of many states facing similar debt, but the only state to choose this course of action.  Unemployment benefits are slated to expire across the country at the end of this year.

“They [the unemployed] are trying to wrap their heads around why in the world their legislature would do this to them. Why would we turn down money that wouldn’t have cost our state a dime? Why would we let what will eventually be 170,000 families suffer? It just doesn’t make any sense,” McMillan said.

Hannah Pinckney McManus, Pastor of Evergreen United Methodist in Chatham County, was one of those arrested Monday night.

“I’m scared to death! I’ve never done anything like this in my life. But my faith will not let me stay silent. It’s not enough just to speak-up. I have to do something,” Pinckney McManus said.

Pinckney McManus said the decision to cut-off the employment benefits for so many North Carolinians pushed her to take a stand.

‘The folks that come to our food pantry on Tuesday night, their suffering is immeasurable. It goes far beyond them just having enough food to eat.  I don’t know what else we can do as a church to help them when they are losing what little bit of income they have,” Pinckney said.



Pinckney McManus’s daughter, Elizabeth, attended the protest to support her mother. The undergraduate said she is worried for when the time comes for her to enter the work force.

“I find that to be traumatizing for the future of our state and for people my age coming into the job market, knowing that there’s no security blanket offered by our government,” Elizabeth McManus said.

Her fiancé, Jonathan Dail, is a recent graduate of UNC and has attended two Moral Mondays.

‘What hits home to me is the fact that public education and liberal arts education is being cut and that impacts a lot of people,” Dail said.

Pastor Richard Edens of the United Church of Chapel Hill was arrested Monday evening. His wife and fellow pastor Jill Edens was arrested on the seventh Moral Monday. Jill Edens was there to support her husband. Members of the United Church of Chapel Hill have been attending the protests since the beginning of the movement in late April.

“I think people of faith think about what is moral a lot, and apparently some of our representatives are a little short on that,” said UCCH member Henry Lister.

Carrboro Alderman Michelle Johnson also attended the rally. She was arrested on  June 3rd’s Mega Moral Monday. For the past two weeks, she joined a group to meditate on the lawn of Halifax Mall.  Johnson said it’s a way to peacefully protest and continue to support the effort.

Moral Monday

Johnson and others meditate in peaceful protest

The protests are garnering national attention. Writers from the Nation Magazine and Market Place Magazine were there Monday. The Huffington Post and Time Magazine have published pieces about the demonstrations as well. Last week, MSNBC and Fox News sent camera crews.

McMillian said though tough times are ahead, she has confidence in the Moral Monday Movement.

“The weather wasn’t great, but still the crowd is out here, and they are fired up. They are ready to take action, whether it is within their communities or whether it is turning out the vote next November. We together have this power and we will continue to move our state forward,” she said.

The Anatomy Of The Moral Monday Movement

RALEIGH: The North Carolina NAACP’s Moral Monday protests began with just 17 arrests in the first rally in late April. Now nearly 600 have been arrested speaking out against the right-leaning  NC General Assembly. New and seasoned protesters are preparing to converge in Raleigh once again for this week’s “Mass” Moral Monday. It’s the ninth protest so far taking place at 5 p.m. across from the General Assembly.

WCHL compiled a timeline of events since the first Moral Monday Movement to document the details of each week:


 April 22: The Beginning of the “Civil Disobedience”

  • NAACP State Chapter President Reverend William Barber called for action against the GOP majority in response to a voter identification bill moving through the House. Barber said the bill was just one of many in a wider agenda targeting the poor and minority voters.


April 29: Week One

–       17 arrested

  • This was the first NAACP protest; Barber called it a non-violent “pray-in.”
  • Bishop Larry Reid, pastor at the Cathedral of Hope Church in Carrboro; Dr. Timothy Tyson, a professor at Duke University; Vice President of the NC NAACP Reverend Curtis Gatewood; and Barber himself were among those first arrested.
  • They were arrested on misdemeanor charges of second-degree trespassing, failure to disperse on command and violating building rules.


May 6: Week Two

–       30 arrested

–       Running Total: 47

  • Tye and Wanda Hunter of the United Church of Chapel Hill were arrested during this rally. Barber’s 20-year-old son, William Joseph Barber III; former Duke University Dean of Arts and Sciences, William Chafe; Duke Professor of Public Policy and History, Robert Korstad; and UNC historian  Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, were also arrested.


May 13: Week Three

–       49 arrested

–       Running Total: 96

Chapel Hillians of faith from the Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist, Binkley Baptist Church, and the United Church of Chapel Hill made the trek to Raleigh. This was when the name “Moral Monday” was introduced.


May 20: Week Four

–       57 arrested

–       Running Total: 153


 May 29: NAACP Rally Tour comes to Chapel Hill

  • Locals gathered in front of the courthouse on Franklin Street for an NAACP rally. It was part of a 25- county tour to raise awareness for the growing efforts to protest the policies of the General Assembly.
  • Speakers at the courthouse included Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton, Minister Robert Campbell, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, and members of the Raging Grannies.


May 27: The NAACP took a pause for Memorial Day


June 2: The 100th anniversary of the controversial confederate monument known as “Silent Sam”

  • Reverend Barber joined the “Real Silent Sam Committee” on UNC’s campus to speak out against what they say the statue represented, which fell on the eve of Mega Moral Monday.


June 3: Week Five

–       151 arrested; *most arrested in a single Moral Monday

–       Running Total: 304

  • Dubbed “Mega Moral Monday,” Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton, Chapel Hill Town Council member Donna Bell, and Carrboro Aldermen Damon Seils, Michelle Johnson and Sammy Slade were among those arrested.
  • The number of arrests nearly matched the combined total of 153 from the last four protests dating back to late April. Orange County Commissioners were also present at the demonstration, including Penny Rich, Mark Dorosin and Bernadette Pelissier.


June 7: Sen. Thom Goolsby, R- New Hanover, wrote an op-ed published in the Chatham Journal titled, “Moron Monday shows radical Left just doesn’t get it”

  • The piece refers to Moral Monday protesters as “hippies” and “Loony Liberals.”


June 8: The Civitas Institute published a database of all those arrested during Moral Mondays

  • Still featured in its website, the list included mug shots, party affiliations, cities of residence, and the “Pick the Protester” Game. Civitas Institute is a conservative think tank funded largely by the Pope Foundation, which has given it more than $8 million since its founding in 2005.  Art Pope sat on the tax-exempt, nonprofit institute’s board of directors until Gov. Pat McCrory appointed him as State Deputy Budget Director.


June 10: Week Six

–       84 arrests

–       Running Total: 388

  • Clergy members from across North Carolina led this protest, despite a tornado watch and rain throughout the evening. Mia Burroughs and James Barrett, members of the Chapel Hill Carborro City School Board of Education, were in attendance.


June 10: Reports surfaced of NC Lawmakers calling the Moral Monday protesters “outsiders”

  • “It’s my understanding that a lot of these people are from out of state. That’s the reports that we’re getting,” Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, said following the June 10 protest.
  • “Outsiders are coming in, and they’re going to try to do to us what they did to Scott Walker in Wisconsin,” McCrory told The Associated Press.


June 12: First Witness Wednesday

  • Eight people were arrested inside the state building, including Durham City Council member Steve Schewel.
  • This event, organized by the NAACP, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers, while also continuing their fight against the Republican-led state government.


June 17: Week Seven

–       84 arrested

–       Running Total: 472

  • This protest focused on health care and environmental justice. Four members of the United Church of Chapel Hill were arrested, including nineteen-year-old Kira Frescoln, pastor Jill Edens, Reverend Susan Steinberg and Dave Otto.
  • Sylvia Steere is the owner of Golden Age Bakery, a gluten-free bakery she operates out of her Chapel Hill home. Steere hand-delivered 170 cookies to every single legislative office in the State House and Senate.


June 24: Arrestees from first Moral Monday on April 29 appear in court

  • NAACP legal advisor Irving Joyner said charges should be dismissed, arguing that the Constitution gives protesters  the right to peacefully assemble on public property and address their legislators. District Court Judge Dan Nagle said his court handles only pleas or the assignment of attorneys, not hearings with witnesses. He subsequently assigned them September court dates, when the issue of dismissal will be heard.


June 24: Week Eight

–       120 Arrested

–       Running Total: 592

  • This “Mass” Moral Monday saw the largest attendance of all the NAACP’s rallies. General Assembly Police estimated more than 1,500 protesters. The rally focused on labor, women and economic justice issues.
  • Those arrested include Chapel Hillian Fredy Perlman, Marybeth Powell of Carrboro, and state AFL-CIO President James Andrews. US Congressman David Price attended along with State Senator Ellie Kinnaird and Verla Insko. MSNBC and Fox News sent camera crews to cover the event.

Protesters Rally For 7th Moral Monday

RALEIGH –  The NC NAACP and other activists will gather in Raleigh for the 7th Moral Monday protest, set to take place outside the General Assembly at 5 p.m.

NAACP state chapter president and protest leader Reverend William Barber announced the rally will focus on environmental and health care issues. Despite a tornado watch and heavy rains, clergy members from across the state led last week’s protest.

“A win is Moral Monday, everywhere in this state and across this nation, getting attention and raising awareness for the issues being raised,” Barber said. “Recent polls show that the legislature’s popularity is down 25 percent. That’s because North Carolinians did not elect people for this. Nobody will tell you that they elected someone to take their Medicaid. They got snookered.”

The group’s demonstrations against policies of the Republican-controlled legislature have grown in size every week since the movement’s birth in late April. One Moral Monday drew more than 1,600 by some estimates. The number of arrests now totals more than 300.

Witness Wednesday, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights activist, Medgar Evers, also took place last week. Eight people were arrested inside the state building, including Durham City Council member Steve Schewel.

Local leaders in Orange County have been outspoken about their support for the Moral Monday protests. Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton was the first to be arrested at recent rally. Carrboro Aldermen Damon Seils, Michelle Johnson, Sammy Slade, and Chapel Hill Town Council member Donna Bell would follow.

Orange County Commissioners Penny Rich, Mark Dorosin and Bernadette Pelissier have been in attendance of several protests, as well as Chapel Hill Carrboro City School Board of Education members Mia Burroughs and James Barrett.

6th Week Of Moral Mon. Protest Set, Clergy To Lead

RALEIGH – The state chapter of the NAACP will continue on with its sixth week of Moral Monday protests that have led to the arrests of more than 300 people.

Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton was arrested last Monday inside the General Assembly, along with Chapel Hill Town Council member Donna Bell, and Carrboro Aldermen Damon Seils, Michelle Johnson and Sammy Slade.

Rally leader and NAACP state chapter president Rev. William Barber said clergy members from across the state will lead this Monday’s demonstration against policies of the Republican-controlled legislature.

“Our job through this movement is to expose those extreme immoral policies that hurt everyone. They impact all people and it’s beginning to work,” Barber said.

The NAACP and its supporters contest the social, economic, voting and education policies of the General Assembly. Many also oppose the state’s decision to reject the Medicaid expansion under federal health care reform, cut unemployment insurance and end the earned income tax credit, among other issues.

Barber announced via teleconference Friday the NAACP will follow up the protest with “Witness Wednesday” to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers. The group will also announce details of a voter registration tour.

“We will have pictures of the martyrs who have died—black, white and Jewish—to protect all of the rights of those we are also trying to protect,” Barber said.

The group’s rallies have grown in size every week since they began in late April, most recently drawing more than 1,600 by some estimates. The number of arrests has grown each week as well—last week’s topping upwards of 150.