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Moral Week of Action – Rev. Barber talks about Ferguson.

(clip from Pre-Moral Week of Action LiveStream Broadcast)

Unrest in Ferguson, Mo., prompts vigil and rally in Charlotte

Moral Mondays, the familiar North Carolina protests, are being expanded to Moral Week of Action, a seven-day protest of the state legislature in Raleigh starting Friday.

The Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP and a leader of Moral Mondays, said in a video posted Monday that the peaceful protests have attracted attention from people in Missouri.

“We’ve been asked about coming down to Ferguson and having some conversations with people,” Barber said. “They’ve said that the Moral Monday movement is a model that they need in that community.”

North Carolinians frustrated with what has happened in Ferguson should turn to local elections, he said.

“You’ve got a lot of young people that say they’re angry about what they saw in Ferguson, so let them know this,” he said. “Mayors and city councils hire police chiefs. People elect mayors and city councils. So if you’re concerned about who the police chief is, you need to be organized and registered to vote.”

Today was the first day of the seven days of protest, culminating in a major rally on the anniversary of the March on Washington on Aug 28.

‘Moral Mondays’ Movement Expands to 12 States for ‘Moral Week of Action’

A broad coalition of faith, labor, and social justice organizations will hold events in 12 mostly Southern states-Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin-with a different social justice theme every day. Friday kicked off with discussions of labor rights, fair and living wages, and economic justice. The weekend will feature actions on education and criminal justice, then equal protection under the law. A “Youth Moral Monday” will start the work week, then women’s rights will take the stage on Women’s Equality Day (August 26), followed by health care and environmental justice actions, and finally voting rights.

Get involved – support the Moral Week of Action.

(see full transcript of Rev. Barber’s remarks below )

Thank you sfinx for providing the transcript

Go in barber shops, go in the malls, wherever you can, and register people to vote.

You got a lot of young people who say they’re angry about what they saw in Ferguson, and what they’ve seen happen in other places?

Let ’em know this:

Mayors, and city councils, hire police chiefs.

People elect mayors and city councils.

So if you’re concerned about who the police chief is, you need to be organized, and register to vote.

If you want to see someone prosecuted, DAs prosecute.

DAs are elected.

So if you want to make sure that DAs are carrying out the law, then make sure that DAs know that you got them elected, and that you expect them to adhere to the Constitution and the criminal laws of this country.

Oh, you really are concerned about how the court system is gonna treat someone that, say, shoots down a Michael Brown, or like the young man that was shot down in Charlotte? Or the seven-year-old that I understand was Tased in, in Halifax County, that we’re investigating now?

You really, you really want the courts to do that?

Well, guess what?

You can’t serve on a jury if you’re not registered.

So if you really want to be engaged, if you really want to see cities and governments put more parks and jobs, rather than more armored cars and tear gas, in your community, then become engaged…

Because political officials make those decisions!

And you gotta be engaged.

And you gotta vote.

And you gotta stay engaged even after people are elected, to hold them accountable.

Sure you’re upset.

But the question has always been,

What do we DO with our pain.

And the brilliance of the Civil Rights Movement, the brilliance of the movement for justice down through the years, the brilliance even as far back as Biblical days,

is we have to find ways to turn our pain

into power.

That’s what Forward Together! The Moral Movement is all about.

That’s what these seven days, consecutive days of action is all about.

Is saying: We will not sink into despair.

And we will not march in the dark,

because we want folks to SEE what we’re doing.

In the broad daylight.

We want to inspire the world, not scare the world.

And so we encourage you to join us.

Tonight as we close, you’re gonna see a video, a promo that you can share everywhere, or you can go to our website NC-NAACP and click on it, and send it out to as many people as possible.

And I want to close the night by praying for our brothers and sisters in Ferguson.

As we’ve been looking today at all the new things that are coming out – autopsies, new reports – but in the midst of that…

in fact we’ve been asked about possibly coming down to Ferguson, and we’re having some conversation with people down there, they’ve said that the Moral Monday movement is a model that they need in that community.

But tonight I want to pray.

My prayer is not that people won’t be angry.

It’s not that people won’t be frustrated.

My prayer is that they’ll turn that anger, and they’ll turn that frustration, into a movement of transformation.

My prayer is that the young people and others down there, who, yes, are walking at night, will remember that Michael Brown was killed at noon.

He was killed during the day.

So I pray that they’ll start marching in the daytime.

So when the cameras are on, they won’t see the armored cars, and the tear gas being shot,

but they see the faces of the mothers.

And the faces of the young men, and young women,

and the fathers, and the children.

You know, there’s a scripture about that.

And it says, there comes a time, what is done in the dark, has to be brought to the light.

I pray for light in North Carolina, light in Missouri, because as Dr. King said,

Darkness can not drive out darkness.

Only light can do that.

We have the light of truth.

We have the light of justice.

We have the light of love.

And we’ve got enough light, that if we stand right, people who may have once been our enemies

will become our allies.

Because we show them a better way.

God bless you. I look to see you for these seven days of action!

Look to see – if you can’t come to the first six, be there on the 28th!

And if you can’t come at all, organize organize, organize!

Organize, register to vote, and vote, like never before.

Forward Together! Not One Step Back!

Forward Together! Not One Step Back!

God bless you, we’ll see you.

Moral Week of Action Day 2:

(Cross-posted with updates from Daily Kos)


  1. Diana in NoVa

    Rev. Barber is most impressive. I like how he drew parallels between what happened in Ferguson and how people can go about changing things by voting for better candidates.

    Wonder whether Ferguson will be the torch that lights the fire of freedom! Would that something good will come out of the needless death of that unfortunate young man. I keep thinking of his parents. They must be devastated.

  2. He goes after the red herring of black on black crime. Some Tweets:

    @tanehisicoates: Today people argue we should talk about black on black crime instead of cop killings because black on black crime is more common.

    @tanehisicoates: By that logic, no one should ever have fought against lynchings.

    @tanehisicoates: Of course no one would make that argument today–because it is ridiculous.

    @tanehisicoates: Likewise, when an officer, acting under the aegis of the state, kills someone it is a different type of crime.

    @tanehisicoates: When police killings receive more scrutiny from the people, it is not a “double standard.” It’s a “standard standard.”

  3. Strong words and filled with excellent advice to people who want change. I can’t help but compare Rev. Barber’s Moral Monday movement with the occupy movement. His is more Occupy Voting Booths. He knows that the demonstrations are to make people aware of the power of voting but repeats what Dr. King said, to go back home and vote and change your municipalities and states. THIS:

    Mayors, and city councils, hire police chiefs.

    People elect mayors and city councils.

    So if you’re concerned about who the police chief is, you need to be organized, and register to vote.

    If you want to see someone prosecuted, DAs prosecute.

    DAs are elected.

    So if you want to make sure that DAs are carrying out the law, then make sure that DAs know that you got them elected, and that you expect them to adhere to the Constitution and the criminal laws of this country.

    The St. Louis County district attorney has been running pretty much unopposed for 17 years. He believes that the people of St. Louis County support him because they keep returning him to that position. Why would he think otherwise? Voting is not just about getting your candidate elected: it is about sending a message to the ultimate winner that they are being watched. I think that the regressive politics in North Carolina were born from the 2008 election when the state went for Barack Obama and they elected a Democratic U.S. Senator, Kay Hagan. The backlash from that led to the 2010 tea party takeover in many states. But the tea party had help: voters from 2008 stayed home in droves because “midterms are boring”. I hope to hell they got a wakeup call because in 2014, this midterm gives us an excellent chance for a do-over. We can’t fix the awful gerrymandering that the newly minted state legislatures of 2011 did, so change at the legislative level will be more gradual. But we can and we will win at the state level and replace the tea party governors with governors who care about the people. Our electoral system provides us with the means to make people accountable BUT ONLY WHEN WE VOTE.

  4. From an article by Sally Kohn, who is white, in TheDailyBeast The Question in St. Louis County: Can Whites Empathize With Blacks?

    So now, a grand jury sits in St. Louis County, taking testimony and parsing evidence. Yesterday we learned the racial makeup of that grand jury: nine whites, and three blacks. Which raises the obvious question: Can whites empathize with Michael Brown and the larger grievances Ferguson’s black community has with police? And can America more broadly value the experiences and concerns of black America enough to address them rather than dismiss them?[…]

    Study after study after study shows often-unconscious but not the less persistent racial discrimination in policing and hiring and education and banking more. But even there… look what I did, I cited research as though it were necessary to validate the lived experience of black people. Somehow black person after black person reporting how they’re constantly stopped by police for doing nothing, or followed around in shopping malls, this overwhelming mountain of anecdotal information, has not convinced most of white America that racial bias remains a problem. […]

    What the hell is black America supposed to do to get white America’s attention? Shout from the rooftops? White America would probably just dismiss that as rioting.

    The empathy gap is important:

    Empathy isn’t about your own experience, but honoring and valuing someone else’s experience, especially when it’s different from your own. But studies show white people simply have less empathy for black people. For instance, in one study, white subjects were shown videos of people being stuck with a needle. The subjects’ brains and body chemistry were monitored for what researchers have identified as the tell-tale signs of empathy. And when the white subjects watched white people being stuck with a needle, they responded with more empathy than when they saw black people being hurt.

    Her conclustion:

    One of the animating slogans of the protests in Ferguson has been “Black Lives Matter.” But the reaction to the news in Ferguson, especially from large pockets of white America, has sadly revealed a deeper reality – that black experience doesn’t even matter.  This invalidation of black experience – the failure of white Americans to trust let alone empathize with the daily discrimination reported by black Americans – is at the heart of racial bias in America today. If that doesn’t change, then we’ll never fully appreciate the crisis of racial bias in America, let alone fix the structures of injustice and systems of inequality.

  5. A pragmatist’s musings on ending racism

    But the truth is, people of color can walk away from personal racism. Unless they care individually or collectively about our opinions, they can chose to ignore us. Even the racist rantings of a Sterling or Bundy or Robertson (Duck Dynasty) are meaningless unless we give them weight.

    Ultimately it is systemic racism that impacts people of color directly. It happens when racism becomes embedded, both overtly and covertly, in institutional patterns and practices. Both the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement were successful in ending different forms of systemic racism: slavery and legal segregation. But those patterns and practices have been embedded in our systems of education, health care, housing, employment, immigration and criminal justice.


    But if, as Rev. William Barber has articulated, we are in the midst of a Third Reconstruction, I think it behooves us to focus on further eradication of systemic racism. Others may disagree, but I think the most pressing areas today are in our education, immigration and criminal justice systems.

    When viewed in this light, our “talk” about racism should be focused on gaining allies to do the work of dismantling systemic racism (you can see that on display with Rev. Barber’s Moral Mondays Movement).

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