Rev. Dr. William Barber II spoke to the massive audience at the Democratic Convention on Thursday night. The North Carolina NAACP President and founder of North Carolina’s people protest “Moral Monday” is becoming more known not only in is own state, and country, but also around the world for his dedication to peace — and his demand for justice. After this incredibly rousing speech, many more will know his name.
Here is Rev. Barber’s powerful and empowering DNC speech in two parts, followed by the transcript:
Good evening. my Brothers and Sisters.
I come before you tonight as a preacher, the son of a preacher, a preacher immersed in the movement at five years old. I don't come tonight representing any organization, but I come to talk about faith and morality.
I'm a preacher and I'm a theologically conservative liberal evangelical biblicist. I know it may sound strange, but I'm a conservative because I work to conserve a divine tradition that teaches us to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
I've has had the privilege of traveling the country with the Reverend Dr. James Forbes, and Reverend Dr. Traci Blackmon and Sister Simone Campbell as we are working together in the revival and calling for a revolution of values. And as we travel the country, we see things. That is why I'm so concerned, about those that say so much—about what God says so little, while saying so little—about what God says so much. And so in my heart, I'm troubled. And I'm worried about the way faith is cynically used by some to serve hate, fear, racism and greed.
We need to heed the voice of the Scriptures. We need to listen to the ancient chorus in which “deep calls unto deep.” The prophet Isaiah cries out, “What I'm interested in seeing you doing, says the Lord, as a nation is, ‘Pay people what they deserve’ ‘Share your food with the hungry.’ Do this and then your nation shall be called a repairer of the breach.”
Jesus, a brown skinned Palestinian Jew, called us to preach good news to the poor, the broken, and the bruised, and all those who are made to feel unaccepted.
Our constitution calls us to commit our government to establish justice, to promote the general welfare, to provide for the common defense and to ensure domestic tranquility.
Now, to be true, we've never lived this vision perfectly. But this ought to be the goal at the heart of our democracy. And when religion is used to camouflage meanness, we know that we have a heart problem in America.
There have always been forces that want to harden and even stop the heart of democracy. There have also always been people who stood together to a stir what sister Dorothy gave called “the revolution of the heart” and what Dr. King called a “radical revolution of values.”
I say to you tonight, there are some issues that are not Left versus Right, Liberal versus Conservative, they are “right versus wrong.”
We need to embrace our deepest moral values and push for a revival of the heart of our democracy.
- When we fight to reinstate the power of the Voting Rights Act and to break interposition and the nullification of the current Congress, we in the South especially know that when we do that, we are reviving the heart of our democracy.
- When we fight for $15 and a union, and universal healthcare, and public education, and immigrant rights, and LGBTQ rights, we are reviving the heart of our democracy.
- When we develop tax and trade policies that no longer funnel our prosperity to the wealthy few, we are reviving the heart of our democracy. W
- When we hear the legitimate discontent of Black Lives Matter and we come together to renew justice in our criminal justice system, we are embracing our deepest moral values and reviving the heart of our democracy.
- When we love the Jewish child and the Palestinian child, the Muslim and the Christian, and the Hindu, and the Buddhist, and those who have no faith— but they love this nation, we are reviving the heart of our democracy.
- When we fight for peace and when we resist the proliferation of military style weapons on our street, and when we stand against the anti-democratic stronghold of the NRA, we are reviving the heart of our democracy.
In times like these, we have make some decisions and I might not normally as a preacher, an individual, but when I hear Hillary's voice and her positions, I hear and I know that she is working to embrace our deepest moral values — and we should embrace her.
But let me be clear, let me be clear, that she, nor any person, can do it alone. The watchword of this democracy in the watchword of faith is “WE.” The heart of our democracy is on the line this November and beyond.
No, my friends, they tell me that when the heart is in danger, somebody has to call an emergency code. And somebody with a good heart will bring a defibrillator to work on the bad heart. Because it is possible to shock a bad heart and revived the pulse. In the season, when someone to harden and stop the heart of our democracy, we are being called like our foremothers and forefathers to be the moral defibrillator of our time.
We must shock this nation with the power of love. We must shock this nation with the power of mercy. We must shock this nation and fight for justice for all. We can’t give up on the heart of our democracy, not now, not ever!
And so, and so I stop by here tonight to ask,
- Is there a heart in this house?
- Is there a heart in America?
- Is there somebody that has a heart for the poor, and a heart for the vulnerable?
- Then Stand up. Vote together. Organize together. Fight for the heart of this nation. And while you’re are fighting, sing that old hymn. “Revive us again. Fill each heart with Thy love. May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.” Hallelujah! Find the glory.
And breathe. Thank you, Rev. Dr. William Barber II.