On Monday, hundreds of people representing educators, civil rights and voting rights groups, labor, and environmental activists gathered at 30 state capitals across the country to demand change during the “Higher Ground Moral Day of Action” demonstrations.
Rev. William Barber, President of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP who pioneered the Moral Monday Movement, said, “Our entire movement is interracial and intersectional. It is diverse; it is the moral call.”
He explained the purpose of the demonstrations:
“We’re no longer going to allow them to say the only moral issues are prayer in school … bans on abortion and homosexuality. We [‘re] going to force the conversation about poverty, health care, criminal justice reform, equal protection under the law, labor rights, immigrant rights – all of which have deep resonance in our deepest religious and constitutional values.”
The Moral Monday Movement has expanded beyond African-Americans to Conservative White Southern Republicans, Hispanics, and others who realize the causes being championed by Blacks also impact them.
The second part of the “Higher Ground” protest action revolves around activists calling for a moral vote. Rev. Barber said, “It’s time for people of conscience to come out of the sanctuary into the public square, into the ballot box [in] November, and beyond.”
Activists made a moral declaration, as stated on MoralRevival.org:
We declare that the deepest public concerns of our nation and faith traditions are how our society treats the poor, those on the margins, the least of these, women, children, workers, immigrants and the sick; equality and representation under the law; and the desire for peace, love and harmony within and among nations.
Together, we lift up and defend the most sacred moral principles of our faith and constitutional values, which are: the economic liberation of all people; ensuring every child receives access to quality education; healthcare access for all; criminal justice reform; and ensuring historically marginalized communities have equal protection under the law.
Our moral traditions have a firm foundation upon which to stand against the divide-and-conquer strategies of extremists. We believe in a moral agenda that stands against systemic racism, classism, poverty, xenophobia, and any attempt to promote hate towards any members of the human family.
Rev. Barber concluded that if health care is a moral issue, “Why are you fighting it?”
If health care is not a moral issue, then politicians in power should be able to explain why “making sure people having health care is the wrong thing to do.”
Barber went on to name a number of other hot button moral issues, including voting rights, criminal justice reform, and police brutality as items that need to be discussed with lawmakers.
“We have to change this limited framework,” he said. “Somethings are not just about Left and Right – it’s about what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Watch Roland Martin and Rev. William Barber discuss the “Higher Ground Moral Day of Action” demonstrations in the video clip above.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty