Moral Monday Movement Spreads through the South

Tintoretto's 'Allegory with a portrait of a Venetian senator.'

Tintoretto’s ‘Allegory with a portrait of a Venetian senator.’

Sue Sturgis writes at the Institute for Southern Studies:

After drawing thousands of protesters to the state legislature and inspiring the arrests of more than 900 people for nonviolent civil disobedience, North Carolina’s Moral Monday movement challenging the extreme conservative agenda of the state’s Republican-controlled legislature and administration is gearing up for more actions in 2014.

It’s also spreading to other states in the South where Republicans hold overwhelming power — and where legislators face re-election this year.

When the Georgia General Assembly convenes on Monday, Jan. 13, members will be met by progressive activists holding their state’s first Moral Monday protest. Among the issues the protesters are focusing on are Georgia’s refusal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, efforts to restrict voting rights, and policies that divert education funds from public to private schools. The Georgia NAACP is leading the coalition organizing the protest.

Before gathering for a rally on the steps of the Georgia state capitol at 4 p.m., Moral Monday Georgia participants are invited to visit their representatives from 10 a.m. to noon, attend a “Hunger Lunch” focusing on food security issues, and participate in workshops led by the N.C. NAACP’s Rev. Dr. William Barber, architect of North Carolina’s Moral Monday movement.

“For too long, many elected officials in Georgia have ignored the moral implications of their actions and inactions with respect to the neediest among us,” MMGA says in a statement on its website. “Our coalition stands against all forms of discrimination and amplifies the voices and ideas of folks in marginalized circumstances.”

The South Carolina legislature convenes the following day, Tuesday, Jan 14, and progressive activists from across the state will gather at the State House in Columbia for what’s being billed as “Truthful Tuesday.” The action is being organized by the state chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, the S.C. AFL-CIO, S.C. Christian Action Council, S.C. NAACP, S.C. Progressive Network, S.C. Alliance for Retired Americans, and the S.C. Education Association.

Protesters are being asked to wear black as a symbol of mourning for the estimated 1,300 people who will likely die in South Carolina this year if the state continues to refuse Medicaid expansion. The organizers are also calling for better funding of education and the protection of voting rights.

Read more here.

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