North Carolina’s ‘Moral Monday’ protests are only the beginning


On Monday, 151 people were arrested as part of the latest “Moral Monday”–an ongoing grassroots movement against a radical right-wing agenda in the North Carolina’s Republican-led General Assembly. These courageous individuals are practicing non-violent civil disobedience, but one North Carolina man is not moved by their efforts. My letter this week is to him:

Dear Gov. Pat McCrory,

It’s me, Melissa.

Now I can only imagine that running a state can’t be easy - and when you add pesky demonstrators to the mix your job becomes harder. Harder because you have a growing group of people not willing to stand by idly and watch the erosion of their hard fought freedoms. Harder because you can’t be bothered with hearing their grievances or even meeting with them.

On Tuesday, you told reporters that you were “very pleased that it’s been non-violent.”

Say word, governor? Really? Who did you think would be posing a risk of violence? The clergy in their collars? The disabled in their wheelchairs? The elderly who were just present to observe?

Or were you expecting them to pull out knives and shank each other just because the lead organizers are from the state chapter of the NAACP and the Advancement Project? Let me remind you, governor, that your state has a long history of non-violent protests by black and brown folks, including one of the most famous by some civilized students at a lunch counter in a place called Greensboro.

Governor, if you would bother to meet with your constituents, maybe you would learn why they are gathering every week.

Here’s the point–you may be a Republican governor but you represent all of the people of the great state of North Carolina not just the members of your party, not just those who agree with you. When you refuse to meet with concerned, organized, vocal citizens, you show a callous disregard for what democracy is supposed to be. The way I see it, you have a choice of what kind of southern governor you want to be.

You can go down in history like Gov. Terry Sanford who fought to expand civil rights for all North Carolinians. Or you can go down like Gov. Orval Faubus, the man who ordered the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the Little Rock Nine from entering school in 1957. Because the movement is growing.

And if you thought you had your hands full with “Moral Mondays”–get ready for “Witness Wednesdays.” You may want the protesters to go away governor, but they are just getting started. And so are we.