DeErricka Green | Managing Editor
More than 600 protestors have been arrested for civil disobedience in the “Moral Monday” events since they began on April 29.
Almost every Monday since its beginning, hundreds of protestors have gathered at the North Carolina General Assembly in downtown Raleigh to combat legislative cuts to unemployment benefits, healthcare funding, education, and other social allowances.
The liberal Moral Monday protestors are displeased with the conservative policies the Republican-controlled N.C. legislature has enacted thus far this year-unemployment benefits from over 70,000 North Carolinians were revoked; the legislature also chose not to expand Medicaid coverage, provided by the Affordable Care Act, which would have allowed more than 500,000 additional people health security. In addition to these, the legislature repealed the North Carolina earned income tax credit, causing it to expire at the end of 2013; and, appealed the Racial Justice Act, which allowed inmates on death row to argue that racial bias influenced their trial.
State leaders, such as Gov. Pat McCrory who took five weeks to even address the events, have largely dismissed the protests. Critics have referred to the events as “Moron Mondays” in passing. Despite this criticism, Rev. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP and man behind the Moral Monday movement, remains vigilant and undeterred. He believes that North Carolina and the rest of the southern states are in the middle of what he dubs a “third reconstruction.” “Changing demographics in America, and state battles over voting rights laws, echo both the first reconstruction, which was voting rights for African Americans after the civil war, and the second reconstruction, which was the Civil Rights movement,” said Barber in an interview with the Huffington Post.
In order to contest the changing policies, Barber believes that citizens need to “directly attack the old divisions of the white southern strategy in order to fix the shortcomings of the so-called Christian evangelical right that limits issues in the public square to things like prayer in school, abortion, and gender issues.”
Reactions to the Verdict #Justice For Trayvon
Kierra Leggett | Editor-in-Chief
On July 13, George Zimmerman was found not guilty on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Immediately following the announcement of the verdict, social media networks erupted with millions of people emphatically sounding off on the outcome of the case. In the days leading up to the verdict, spirited debate occurred via social media channels as users live tweeted throughout the trial, which aired on several national news stations, including HSN. The hashtags #ZimmermanTrial and #JusticeForTrayvon quickly became trending topics throughout the duration of the televised portion of the trial.
Social Media served not just as a place for people to exchange their opinions on what was happening during the case, but also as an incubator for organized protests. Throughout the United States, there were peaceful rallies against the verdict with big-name celebrities such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z offering their support. Local rallies took place in Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro.
Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton took to Twitter after the verdict was read, sharing a Bible verse. President Obama later released an official statement in regard to the not guilty verdict saying in part, “When you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.”
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People responded to the not guilty verdict with a petition to the Department of Justice to file a civil rights violation against George Zimmerman. According to the NAACP website, more than 1.5 million signatures were added to the petition in just three days.
Since the delivery of the verdict in July, the Martin family has remained vigilant in seeking justice for Trayvon and ensuring that laws are set in place to prevent future instances similar to the killing of Trayvon from happening. Fulton appeared on MSNBC’s Meet the Press Sunday, speaking out against the stop-and-frisk policies of New York. “You can’t give people the right, whether its civilians or authorities, the right to stop someone because of the color of their skin.”
The African American Cultural Center has an event entitled, Lunch and Learn: “Trayvon Martin and Social Justice: Next Steps,” scheduled for Oct. 17 from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. in the Washington Sankofa room.
Celebrating 100 Years of Service
Washington, DC rolled out the red carpet for the women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. this July, as the organization hosted its 51st National Convention and commemorated its 100th anniversary.
During the weeklong celebration, the Nation’s capital was flooded by a sea of red nearly 50,000 deep, marking the highest convention attendance in the history of the Sorority.
Here is what Jasmine Gaston, a member of the Mu Omicron Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. had to say about the experience:
“Attending the 51st National Convention as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was an amazing once-in-a-life-time experience. I was blessed with the responsibility of representing the Mu Omicron chapter as one of 700 voting delegates at the Convention. As a voting delegate, I had the opportunity of participating in the business aspects of the conference, which allowed me to meet many prominent figures of the organization such as the National Executive Board and Honorary Members. Meeting members of my organization from all over the world allowed my line sisters and I to experience true sisterhood on a grand scale. Overall, the motivation and inspiration I gained from participating in my Centennial Convention was priceless.”