Raleigh, North Carolina has been a center of a series of peaceful protests known as “Moral Mondays.” Supporters of the cause have aligned with one another to combat instances of racial discrimination, voter disenfranchisement, and other social injustices.
Organized by Rev. Dr. William Barber II of the NAACP, the gatherings have grown beyond their North Carolina origins and have spread in Georgia, South Carolina and other states.
The Moral Mondays protest began in 2013 as a response to a disturbing set of political moves made in the state in 2012. That year, the Republican Party won the governor’s mansion and both state houses. This gave the GOP an absolute legislative majority in the state for the first time since 1870.
Almost immediately, Gov. Pat McCrory began efforts to dismantle longstanding laws and rules that served to protect voter ID laws and social justice programs, and to repeal a 2009 law that offered some legal protection to death row inmates facing capital punishment because of racial discrimination.
Rev. Barber, who has served as the North Carolina NAACP’s state conference president since 2006, has said in past interviews that the moves of McCrory and the GOP legislature are just part of a larger extremist political agenda.
Moral Mondays gatherings have also protested tax changes, changes to social programs, abortion rights, and other measures that could negatively affect people of color and the poor. As far as voter disenfranchisement, Rev. Barber has worked alongside several civil rights organizations including Advancement Project, among others.
On President’s Day, tens of thousands gathered on the state capital grounds to continue their ongoing protests and to bring renewed attention to Islamophobia in the wake of the fatal shooting of three University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The President’s Day gathering was the first Moral Mondays protest of the year.