North Carolina burning

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal

They call it Moral Mondays and in North Carolina this means a movement of civil disobedience led by the Rev. Dr. William Barber, a local head of the NAACP.

Why protest? That’s because for the first time since 1870 the Republicans have their hands on all the levers of power there — the governor’s office and both houses of the Legislature — and they’re on a tear to keep it.

One of their first efforts was to attack voting rights and similarly, redistricting, to block voters from the polls and to redraw districts to isolate and weaken those who make it through to vote. They slashed the unemployment benefits of some 170,000 people, so much so that they no longer qualify for federal unemployment programs. North Carolina is the eighth state to cut such benefits. Social programs have also been hit and that’s just the beginning.

And so, demonstrations at the capital have attracted hundreds of protesters. Nearly 1,000 people have been arrested in Raleigh, proving that we aren’t as far as we think from the Civil Rights days. It is one of the ironies of history that a party built on Black suffrage and Black freedom has now become one designed and determined to strip Blacks from the voting rolls.

Despite the people in the streets and the arrests, national coverage is slight and fleeting. That may because they’re so busy covering 50-year anniversaries featuring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. instead of what’s happening now right beneath their noses.

You may not see it, or hear of it, but a movement is blossoming in Raleigh, N.C. It’s called Moral Mondays. n