‘Moral Monday’ protests head to Asheville
ASHEVILLE (AP) — With the North Carolina General Assembly finished for the year, protesters brought their Moral Monday demonstration to Asheville.
The rally at the Buncombe County Courthouse was the first away from Raleigh. The NAACP and other liberal groups hosting the protests promise to go to all 13 of North Carolina’s congressional districts for the protests of what they said is the Republican-majority Legislature and governor rolling back progress in education, social and economic equality and assuring all qualified people have the right to vote.
“You can’t do wrong in Raleigh and then hide back home,” said the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Several dozen of the more than 930 people arrested during the 13 weeks of protests in Raleigh were brought on the stage in Asheville as the crowd chanted “Thank you.” Protesters filled the one-block square in front of the courthouse and spilled back into the next block.
“This group of jailbirds and I believe in the Golden Rule. That we should treat people the way we would want to be treated. And politicians should live by the Golden rule too,” said Heather Rayburn, who was arrested as part of the protests on July 15.
Barber talked about how brave North Carolinians fought back when the state instituted segregation and laws designed to keep blacks from voting after the Civil War and also supported the civil rights movement. He said those people from history are calling for the protesters to not give up the rights and progress they fought for.
“This legacy is calling us once again today. We have seen a regressive and immoral Legislature in 180 days turn public policy 180 degrees,” Barber said.
Barber said taking the protests out of Raleigh will prove there is support for what the protesters want. He told the crowd they must get more people registered to vote and let their elected officials know they are angry with the direction the state is moving.
“This is no momentary hyperventilation and liberal screaming match,” Barber said. “This is a movement.”