Moral Monday and Witness Wednesday are part of a civil-disobedience and protest movement sponsored by the NAACP-North Carolina to organize North Carolinians who oppose the raft of odious bills being ramrodded through the N.C. legislature by a new Republican/Tea Party supermajority and Republican governor (aided by the governor's state deputy budget director, Tea Party leader Art Pope).
Today, June 12, featured the first Witness Wednesday. More than 80 people filed into the N.C. General Assembly (NCGA) building to pray, sing, and hold signs opposing several of the bills being shoved through; eight people chose arrest over compliance over orders to disperse. They are charged with "failure to disperse," criminal trespass, and violation of General Assembly rules (holding a sign and singing in public, which are both considered disturbances).
This brings the total to 401 people arrested in this movement. (This figure represents unique arrests: once a protester has been arrested, he/she can not reenter either the General Assembly or the Legislative Office Building next door.)
June 12 was selected as the start for Witness Wednesday in honor of Medgar Evers, an NAACP worker who was assassinated on June 12, 1963, by a white segregationist. Evers' assassination was a germinal moment in the U.S. civil rights movement and galvanized large-scale protests and actions to secure civil rights in the United States.
After a rally outside the NCGA, NAACP-NC president Rev. William Barber led about 100 people into GA building. The eight arrested sang spirituals and prayed outside the N.C. House of Representatives chamber, where house members were debating the budget. House Speaker Thom Tillis asked that the chamber be locked for the duration of the protest.
Among those arrested today: Durham City Councilman Steve Schewel, Guilford County Commissioner Carolyn Coleman, and Rocky Mount City Council member Andre Knight, a Rocky Mount. They join scores of other municipal leaders who have stepped up to assert their constitutional right to "assemble together to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the General Assembly for redress of grievances."
North Carolina Constitution: Sec. 12. Right of assembly and petition.Can't make it to Raleigh for Moral Monday or Witness Wednesday? You can still be part of our effort! Make a contribution of a few dollars or some food/water to support the participants and the legal defense of those who are arrested.
The people have a right to assemble together to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the General Assembly for redress of grievances; but secret political societies are dangerous to the liberties of a free people and shall not be tolerated.
In addition to actions in Raleigh, there are efforts building all across North Carolina. Visit the NAACP-NC site to find a location near you.
Forward together! Not one step back!