Moral Monday came to Asheville on Monday, drawing thousands to the city's center. The grassroots political protest of North Carolina's far-right legislature and its cavalcade of repressive, mean-spirited laws, started in Raleigh during the General Assembly's just-completed session. Now that the lawmakers have gone home, Moral Monday itself, led by the N.C. NAACP President Rev. William Barber, is "on tour." Yesterday's protesters in Asheville carried signs, sang songs and cheered on the speakers, who lambasted the GOP majority in the General Assembly for its litany of political sins. Those transgressions and atrocities include, but are not limited to: a law creating the most vote-suppressive electoral system in America; the denial of health coverage to a half-million impoverished North Carolinians; and the legislature's odd, destructive overall antipathy toward public education; and modern conservatives' favorite hobby, dictating women's health decisions.
Asheville police Sgt. Dave Romick told that city's daily newspaper that more than 5,000 people attended the rally. The general tenor of the protest was that the General Assembly had picked on the wrong groups of people and would suffer the consequences. Organizers plan to have Moral Monday protests in every North Carolina congressional district, part of a strategy of "following the legislators home."
The first Charlotte Moral Monday protest is scheduled to take place August 19 at 5 p.m. in Marshall Park. Meanwhile, the North Carolina protests have garnered so much national publicity, they've inspired fed-up progressives elsewhere to get out of their chairs and couches and do something. Protests yesterday in Oakland, Calif., and Chicago were both named after N.C.'s Moral Monday movement.