Moral Mondays Movement is Uniting People From Every Sector
The Moral Monday Movement was started by US religious leader and activist Rev William Barber in a bid to “Moralize the system”. It originated from the state of North Carolina but has now spread across the US. The protests started in 2013 when against several actions taken by the government of North Carolina. The protests involved people entering the legislative building and getting arrested peacefully. In 2014, these protests spread to Georgia and South Carolina and then to Illinois and New Mexico. In one of his sermons on an Easter Sunday, Barber told that Christ died because of our sins, but he was sentenced on sedition as he denied to bend to the oppressive political system of Caesar.
Barber believes that Caesar’s spirit is still live, because oppression still lives and racism lives and hate lives and meanness still lives. Barber tells his parishioners that they can see it when politicians snatch health care from the poor and give tax relief to the rich. It has been five years since the start of Moral Mondays. In 2013, seventeen people were first arrested after which the movement has grown louder and louder. On the fifth anniversary, the new head of the state NAACP and one of the seventeen first arrested, Rev. Anthony Spearman addressed to 100 people gathered to rally on Halifax Mall. Reverend called out to the people Forward Together, and the crowd called back to him Not One Step Back. A call which his predecessor Rev. William Baker often used. Though Moral Mondays started as a movement of resistance, they have evolved as a movement for an alternative system. They have highlighted five principles, and they believe these principles are beyond Democrat and Republican debate.:
- Economic sustainability and ending poverty
- Education equality
- Healthcare for all
- Fairness in Criminal Justice
- Voting Rights
Nine hundred twenty-four people were charged during protests of 2013. The charges included second-degree trespassing, violation of legislative building rules and failure to disperse on command. About 20 people accepted a deal from the state which asked them to pay 180$ and 25 hours of community service while the rest of them underwent trials in the court. Saladin Muhammed was the first to be tried and was convicted of all charges. Despite the similarity in all cases, the outcomes were different for other people. William Barber and others were charged only on trespassing and violation of building rules.
In 2014 Moral Monday Movement took another step with the establishment of Moral Monday, Georgia. They protested against governor Nathan Deal’s decision to reject federal funds for Medicaid expansion. This protest resulted in 10 arrests for disobedience. “Truthful Tuesdays” movement also started in South Carolina in Jan 2014. In 2016, Governor McCrory lost elections to a democratic candidate Roy Cooper. This defeat was essential to establish a victory for the Moral Mondays Movement. It brought a lot of media attention and also pulled other opposition towards them.