We’ve been looking at Moral Mondays but Betsy in the comments on yesterday’s post tells me (in so many words! politely!) that I got it all wrong, so here’s what they’re actually doing now that the legislative session has ended. Here’s Betsy:
Great question! answer, no. Altho the legislature has concluded the session and gone home, the protests will continue, taking it to the road and to the districts of the state where the damage came from or is being done. Tomorrow’s Moral Monday is in Asheville.
This week’s Moral Monday protest in Raleigh, N.C. was the 13th and last of this year’s legislative session, which ended last week. It was also the biggest protest yet against the ultraconservative agenda of the Republican-controlled legislature, drawing as many as 10,000 people to the state capital’s downtown streets. Many of the participants were red-clad public schoolteachers and their supporters upset over education cuts and voucher schemes.
Though the legislature has adjourned, the anger that fueled the NAACP-led demonstrations and resulted in the arrests of over 900 people for nonviolent civil disobedience since late April continues to grow — and organizers are drawing on it to take the protests to communities across the state.
“Don’t make no mistake, North Carolina,” N.C. NAACP President Rev. William Barber said in a fiery speech delivered to Monday’s crowd. “This is no momentary hyperventilation, or momentary protest. This is a movement.”
The first action planned outside Raleigh will take place in Asheville on Aug. 5 and is being billed as Mountain Moral Monday, with Rev. Barber as a featured speaker. Organizers are not planning any civil disobedience but say they want to let Western North Carolina residents add their voices to the protests.
“This event will give people in our part of the state a chance to stand up for justice, democracy and moderation,” said Mountain Moral Monday spokesperson Valerie Hoh.
Asheville found itself a target of conservative lawmakers this year. Early in the session, Republicans introduced a bill amending the state’s indecent exposure law to expand the definition of “private parts” to include “the nipple, or any portion of the areola, or the female breast.” The bill — a response to topless rallies promoting women’s equality held in Asheville — did not pass.
But North Carolina lawmakers were successful in passing a bill that takes control of the municipal water system away from Asheville and hands it over to a state-chartered regional authority without compensating the city for the loss. The measure, which opponents say is theft by the state and would harm regional economic development efforts, is the subject of a lawsuit set to begin next month. Save Our Water WNC, a group opposed to the takeover, is among the organizers of Mountain Moral Monday.
There is also a Moral Monday protest planned for Charlotte on Aug. 19, and organizers are expected to announce actions in other communities across the state soon.
The protesters were targeted and smeared by Art Pope, who is a huge conservative donor and rich person but also a state employee. That’s right. A state actor is directly targeting individual, ordinary North Carolinians who oppose his policies. I’m still waiting for the free speech enthusiasts in media to muster up some outrage over this. Outrage over state actors engaging in attempts at speech suppression or “chilling” political speech seems to be content-based. It’s okay because this is liberal political speech that is being targeted?
The John W. Pope Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank based in Raleigh, N.C., has launched a database targeting people who’ve been arrested as part of the Moral Monday nonviolent protests at the state legislature.
The Civitas Institute was founded by conservative mega-donor and discount-retail mogul Art Pope, now the North Carolina budget director under Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, and it was named for Pope’s father. The nonprofit gets about 94 percent of its funding from the family foundation Pope chairs. That raises questions about the ethics of a public official who’s been a target of the protests being involved in an apparent effort to target the protesters for harassment — or worse.
The effort to intimidate the protesters was a big flop, because of course the Civitas Institute (Art Pope) couldn’t resist making shit up. The charge was that the protestors were “outside agitators” but they weren’t and aren’t. When the protesters were arrested, of course the arrest records included their (North Carolina) addresses, which the brilliant, highly paid think tank consultants at the Art Pope’s lobby shop apparently didn’t anticipate.
Thanks to both Summer and Betsy for letting us know.