@NCCapitol

'Moral Monday' crowd rallies for women's rights; 101 arrested

Posted July 14, 2013
Updated July 15, 2013

— About 100 people were arrested Monday after their singing and clapping protest outside the state Senate chamber was declared an unlawful assembly, in what has become a weekly demonstration against Republican initiatives.

The 11th 'Moral Monday' protest at the state legislative building focused on the rights and leadership of women and decried the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a Florida man who claimed self defense in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

The protests, led by the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, have drawn thousands from across the state and made headlines across the country, most recently in the New York Times. General Assembly Police said 101 people – more than two-thirds of them women – were arrested Monday on charges of disorderly conduct, trespassing and violating building rules, raising the total number of arrests to over 800. 

Jeannie Franklin, 66, and Grace Stitt, 65, both of Black Mountain, said they'd been wanting to attend the weekly rally and tackled the eight-hour round trip on a bus they said was chartered by the Buncombe County Democratic Party.

"I felt like I needed to do something more than write an email to a senator or representative because I'm not sure those are ever read," Stitt said. "I guess I felt like I haven't spoken up enough and it's time to make my statement."

N.C. NAACP President Rev. William Barber II said women have been a critical part of the 'Moral Monday' movement, even before both the Senate and the House tacked sweeping abortion legislation onto unrelated bills in recent weeks. 

"When we started Moral Mondays and the first group went to jail, the women were at the front line," he said. "The sisters are here, the sisters have been here and the sisters are here to stay."

Barber became visibly emotional as he explained that he planned to be absent from Monday's protest but returned early from the NAACP National Convention after hearing the Zimmerman verdict.

"The thing that became clear to me, through all the anger and hurt I was feeling, for the lesser value the racialized Southern culture places on black life, is that I needed to come home to talk to my other kids, and I needed to be here with you," he said. "When you are hurting, you  need to be around some people who still believe in the possibility of us being one people."

Barber said the case highlights the need to curb gun violence and slammed GOP-proposed legislation that would allow concealed weapons on college campuses and in restaurants and bars. 

"They want more guns than they want citizens in the people's house," he said. 

Moral Monday protest Moral Monday protest

Barber and other activists are leading the charge against legislation rejecting the expansion of Medicaid to the working poor, slashing benefits to the unemployed, eliminating jobs in public education and placing restrictions on voting.

Organizers say they plan to keep protesting. Next week's rally will focus on voting rights and their impact on public education and criminal justice.

Assuming the General Assembly will adjourn before the end of the month, members of the state NAACP said they are recruiting people to attend protests in other cities across the state.

Last week, the New York Times ripped the GOP policies, prompting Gov. Pat McCrory to respond Saturday. He praised the state's leadership for making "the tough decisions that we were elected to do."

556 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • paul2345 Jul 18, 8:59 a.m.

    With the moralizing from the anti-abortion crowd (and the legislature), I'm certain they will now enact even more regulation to insure the fetus they save will have ample funding for a proper education. Heck, many cultures believe if you 'save' a life, you are then responsible for it. Why do the so-called moral folks turn their backs on the would-be mother to whom they have forced THEIR will, and to the would-be child THEIR WILL has 'saved'.

    Seems the 'pro-life' crowd evaporates when it comes time to be pro for the life of the mother and the child. Make no mistake: if every unwanted pregnancy was brought to term, only 10% of those pregnancies would be adopted. What is the life impact on both the child and the mother for the other 90%? Will they become productive members of society, successes? And if not, what costs would they incur upon society that the 'pro-life' folks will legislate for all of us to pay?

  • jetset Jul 17, 4:37 p.m.

    @Capt.-Sum-Ting-Wong--- you have summed it all up in a nice package!! You are 100% correct. Crazy world, huh?

  • bowens44 Jul 17, 3:14 p.m.

    "Confused a bit, are the Moral Monday crowds in line for a purpose or just to waste another work day complaining about hot button issues?"

    You're right , you are confused maybe shouldn't comment on issues you don't understand.

  • seriouslyrevoked Jul 17, 2:42 p.m.

    It is about individual freedom to do whatever we want. There are no moral standards in a modern liberal society. To have any infringes on our rights is wrong. There are no intrinsic values. There is no god except the god of self. No one can tell anyone they are wrong, it is all subjective. Men are better being more woman like, women are better being more man like, children are no longer children but equal to adults. There are not smarter or better people, just circumstances. Relativism begets more relativism. Language is whatever sounds one wishes to make. History means nothing because those who write it are biased. Discrimination is evil. Morality is in the eye of the beholder. Power is might and right. All cultures are the equivalent. Natural Laws are a myth. God is dead. Man is everything.

  • jetset Jul 17, 8:44 a.m.

    @madeuce2010-- so sorry to ask this question, but I thought you, of all people, would know the answer.Some of you guys simply amaze me with your scientific knowledge of conception. Where did you get your degree?

  • madeuce2010 Jul 16, 7:30 p.m.

    "I do find it interesting that a someone can KILL a pregnant mother and thus be charged with TWO MURDERS. However, a woman ( mother is too good for her to be called this ) can abort a baby with NO worries ( one woman even had to gall to say there was no menal anguish and it was like cutting her toenails ). Someone familiar with the laws, please let me know. All this is enough to gag a maggot." -- jetset

    Why don't you look up the laws and see for yourself instead of having one of us explain it to you?

  • jetset Jul 16, 7:20 p.m.

    I do find it interesting that a someone can KILL a pregnant mother and thus be charged with TWO MURDERS. However, a woman ( mother is too good for her to be called this ) can abort a baby with NO worries ( one woman even had to gall to say there was no menal anguish and it was like cutting her toenails ). Someone familiar with the laws, please let me know. All this is enough to gag a maggot.

  • madeuce2010 Jul 16, 6:52 p.m.

    "Thankyou liberals, for telling us all day that it is legal to kill tissue masses, zygotes, viable embryos, and unviable embryos"

    Viable embryos? Seriously? LOL

    " (no liberal mentioned unborn babies. hmmm.....)"

    Because there's no such thing as an "unborn baby" (just like there's no such thing as a "viable embryo"). Babies are BORN. Embryos cannot survive outside the womb.

    "After this bill is passed, we conservatives are going to tell you where and where not, it is legal for you to commit this butchery." -- 1066hardrada

    Keep dreaming. This will end up in court and be overturned as unconstitutional.

  • madeuce2010 Jul 16, 6:45 p.m.

    "BTW, NOBODY is pro abortion." missalexadorsey

    "What does NARAL stand for? National ABORTION Rights Action League?

    Of course they are for abortion." -- timexliving

    They are for abortion RIGHTS.

  • Ex-Republican Jul 16, 5:59 p.m.

    "BTW, NOBODY is pro abortion." missalexadorsey

    What does NARAL stand for? National ABORTION Rights Action League?

    Of course they are for abortion.

More...