From Maria Palmer.
I was one of 17 people arrested in the General Assembly last week. We stood singing, holding signs and praying in defiance of Chief Weaver’s orders to disperse. I had never been to jail before, and even until a few minutes before the Capitol police took us away in handcuffs, I kept hoping for a miracle: that the Republican senate leaders would come out and tell us they had changed their minds and would not deny health insurance to half a million North Carolinians or pass the Voter ID laws, that they would restore funds for education.
That miracle didn’t happen. But the gut-wrenching reaction and nausea I felt as I watched Rev. Gatewood being handcuffed quickly subsided, and in its place I felt peace and joy. I was going to jail, but I was accompanied by 16 people of faith—some of whom had marched with Dr. King and gone to jail under much more dangerous conditions 50 years ago, seasoned warriors in the battle for justice… all I had to do was follow Rev. Barber’s lead and keep praying.
Why protest? Some ask. Why not wait until the next elections? I have lived in several so-called “banana republics.” I know what a government of the rich and powerful for the rich and powerful will do to our state. If the immoral Voter ID laws get passed and all North Carolinians are not able to vote in the next elections, the result will be an illegitimate government that will continue to pull our state backward for years to come.
This last Monday, another 30 protesters were arrested. Famous historians and doctors and lawyers, grandmothers, students and of course more preachers. I know more will come out next Monday to stand for justice. So I am hopeful.
Forward together, not one step back!