Deja vu: March pushes voting rights

Deja vu: March pushes voting rights
February 12
00:00 2015

U.S. citizens marching to gain their voting rights: This scene from the 1960s is repeating itself in 2015.

In the 1960s, the face on the push for those rights was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In 2015, it is the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The current movement started in 2006 as the Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) People’s Assembly Coalition, with Barber as its leader.

The first annual “HKonJ People’s Assembly” was held in February  2007, when more than 3,500 supporters attended as they sanctioned and signed the coalition’s “HKonJ 14-Point People’s Agenda.” The HKonJ Coalition transformed the 14-Point People’s Agenda into comprehensive reform bills that have been introduced in legislative sessions.

In 2014, the name has merged into the Forward Together Moral Movement, a broad, multiracial coalition led by the North Carolina NAACP, has called for thousands of people to assemble on Saturday, Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, for a Mass Moral March on Raleigh to protest regressive policies enacted by the Governor and General Assembly in the last few years.

Members of the Winston-Salem NAACP branch will be there. (See story on Page A1).

Dr. Barber says the movement is made up of more than 170 partners from the civil rights, women’s rights, faith-based, labor, LGBTQ, immigrant justice, student and environmental communities. Participants will map out sustained campaigns and announce a number of actions for the rest of the year.

This year’s march will focus on a Love and Justice agenda, which includes the demands laid out in the letter hand-delivered to legislators the week of Jan. 25.

Among the movement’s demands are to reverse the attack on people’s voting rights; to our former access to Early Voting, Sunday Voting and Same-Day Registration; repeal the race-based redistricting maps adopted by the General Assembly; and repeal the unconstitutional 2016 requirement for all voters to show a photo ID before they can vote.

“While elections have consequences, it remains up to the people to hold elected leaders accountable,” Dr. Barber said.

“Our work is not over when the polls close; the people do not simply go away. Politicians do not get the right to do whatever they wish just because they were elected. That is why we are coming together on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day. We will be there to remind our elected leaders that they are accountable to all North Carolinians regardless of color, class, creed, gender, sexuality, health or place of birth.”

Well said, Dr. Barber. Well said.

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