Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Moral Monday protests gain momentum in North Carolina

They marched around the governor's mansion in Raleigh.
Students took the lead on the march around the governor's mansion.
Two Moral Monday events drew more than 500 people who protested North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and his legislative allies for curbing voting rights, slashing education spending and refusing federal dollars to expand Medicaid. The rallies held yesterday marked the 18th week since late April that North Carolinians gathered to protest the state government’s actions. About 925 people were arrested during the demonstrations for nonviolent civil disobedience.

At a youth-led demonstration in Raleigh, some 250 people marched around the governor’s mansion to demand a roll back on the voter suppression and education cuts enacted in July. Some also carried three children’s coffins to honor the memory of four little African-American girls killed in a Birmingham, Ala. church bombing 50 years ago yesterday during the height of the civil rights movement in the South.
College students from around the area came to the protest to show they are concerned about the state’s future. They held signs reading “We will fight for our future,” “Reinvest in public education,” and “Take your hands off our voting rights.” Dylan Su-Chun Mott, a member of the University of North Carolina’s Student Power group, said students need to stand up and be heard:
[The UNC-system Board of Governors] is trying to tell us that the only thing we are in school for is to get jobs. … More importantly, we are learning to be fully participatory citizens in this, our great democracy.
Meanwhile, about 300 people gathered in the small town of Wentworth in north-central North Carolina. to protest education and Medicaid cuts. The event was held in the district of Senate leader Phil Berger.

Rev. Nelson Johnson of Greensboro’s Beloved Community Center said that Berger and other elected officials have forgotten the main purpose of government:
Mr. Berger, government and our democracy is supposed to work for the people and not against the people.
 Week after week, North Carolina residents are pushing back on an agenda crafted by state budget director Art Pope, a multimillionaire who helped underwrite the campaigns of Gov. McCrory and his cronies in the Legislature. It is largely modeled on the pro-corporate, anti-worker platform of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

McCrory says the changes will help everyone in the state, the numbers just don’t bear this out.  In fact, they show the state spent $100 million less on public schools, cut taxes only on out-of-state corporations and the wealth and made benefit cuts that hurt low-income citizens, not help them.