New rules passed by the extremist Republicans in control of the North Carolina legislature aimed at silencing Moral Monday protesters didn’t stop nearly 5,000 civil rights, labor, faith, environmental and other activists from turning out for the first Moral Monday action of the new legislative session Monday night.
According to the new rules governing protests, any group inside the legislative building—where many of the protesters gather for Moral Monday actions—making enough noise to interfere with conversation at normal conversational levels is creating a “disturbance” and can be ordered to leave the building or be arrested if they refuse to do so.
While the huge crowd chanted outside, protesters marched silently and two by two through the building with tape covering their mouths.
The Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP and one of the founders of the Moral Monday, said:
We’re going to spend some time in deliberate silence. You ought to have a little righteous indignation. For you to be able to expose what they’re doing, you’ve got to put tape on your mouth. I know one thing, when someone tells you you’re going to be arrested for speaking in a normal voice, all of us will be arrested, because what’s normal?
In more than a dozen Moral Monday events last year and earlier this year, thousands of North Carolinians protested attacks on voting rights, education, the environment, unemployed workers, health care and women's rights by the extremists who control the state legislature and governor’s mansion.
Writes Barber, on the faith blog Patheos:
Nearly a year ago, we joined together in moral witness against the extremist assault on North Carolina’s working families and the poor, our state’s unemployed, the hundreds of thousands without healthcare and our embattled public schools….We have come back to call upon [House Speaker] Thom Tillis and his extremist ‘super-majority’ to repent from their attacks on our public schools and our teachers, to repeal the shutdown of the Earned Income Tax Credit for 900,000 lower-income families and the fat tax cuts for the rich and to restore North Carolina to its traditional moral values of kindness, decency and fairness. We have come back because our religious traditions and moral reasoning lead us in a different direction, away from the unwise and inhumane policies being pushed by the extremists in the General Assembly.
For more photos, visit the North Carolina State AFL-CIO on Twitter.