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‘Moral Monday’ protest heads to Charlotte

“Moral Monday,” the protest movement that began in Raleigh in response to actions by the General Assembly, will come to Charlotte’s Marshall Park on Aug. 19.

The protests that drew thousands to Raleigh attracted more than 5,000 to Asheville this week on the first stop of a sort of road trip that will take the protests across the state.

“The goal … is to really say that lawmakers can no longer do what they do in Raleigh and then go home and hide,” the Rev. William Barber, state NAACP president, said Wednesday.

The Republican-led legislature ended its session in July after adopting a budget and flurry of new laws in the final week. GOP leaders praised the session as one setting North Carolina on a path toward reform echoing the will of the 2012 voters.

But demonstrations have taken place weekly since April. They’ve resulted in more than 920 arrests.

The Charlotte protest, like others, will feature people affected by legislative policies. Earlier events have featured the low-income, the unemployed and teachers.

“The bottom line with these guys is that they’re mad, but they’re mad at the wrong people,” said state Republican Chairman Claude Pope.

“They should be protesting at the Democratic Party headquarters because it’s the Democrats who were so corrupt and so inept with the taxpayers’ money… This governor and this legislature are doing exactly what they said they were going to do. They’re better stewards of the taxpayers’ money and focused on bringing jobs to North Carolina.”

On the day organizers hold a Moral Monday in Charlotte, they’ll host another in Manteo. Then on Aug. 28, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, the NAACP will hold 13 rallies across the state, including in Charlotte.

Barber calls Moral Monday “a movement, not a moment.”

He also invoked the late Charlotte attorney and civil rights pioneer Julius Chambers, whose memorial is scheduled for Thursday.

“We have a legislature that is attempting to undermine the very victories that people like attorney Chambers and others won,” Barber said. “And that is another reason why we must wage this moral battle in their name.”

Morrill: 704-358-5059
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