Editorial: Changing the leadership,not the fight

Editorial: Changing the leadership,not the fight
May 18
09:00 2017

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II has announced that he is stepping down as president of the N.C. NAACP in June and will not run for re-election.

This sounds like bad news, on the surface. Barber has worked in this capacity over the past 12 years, since 2005. He helped start a movement that has spanned nationwide, mostly because of his leadership.

When he became the leader, the movement targeted the N.C. General Assembly, led by Democrats at the time, to raise the minimum wage, win same day registration and voting, push back against re-segregation of schools in one of our largest districts, and free innocent black men from prison.

Through that work, a foundation was laid for “Moral Mondays,” which emerged in the spring of 2013. The Republicans had taken over the General Assembly in 2010 and the pressure on that body intensified.

Barber was in Winston-Salem leading a Moral Monday March in 2015 as a N.C. NAACP lawsuit on voting rights against the state of North Carolina (which named then-Gov. Pat McCrory) was being heard in federal court in the city.

“Through sustained moral fusion organizing, with a race and class critique rooted in our deepest moral values, we pushed back against extremism for four long years to see the defeat of an extremist Republican governor, the election of more progressive members to the state Supreme Court, and the overturning of the monster voter suppression law that targeted African-Americans, according to a federal court, ‘with almost surgical precision,’” Barber wrote in a letter to his constituents.

In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday gave the movement a huge victory, although a technical one.

The Associated Press reported that the Court rejected an appeal to reinstate North Carolina’s voter identification law, which a lower court said targeted African-Americans “with almost surgical precision.”The justices left in place the lower court ruling striking down the law’s photo ID requirement and reduction in early voting.

The situation was complicated when Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein tried to withdraw the appeal, which was first filed when Republican Pat McCrory was governor.

Chief Justice John Roberts said the political situation created uncertainty over who is authorized to seek review of the lower court ruling.

Roberts cautioned Monday that the rejection of the appeal is not a comment on the court’s view about the substance of the law.

So, Barber leaves his post with a victory for voting North Carolinians.

However, his work is not done.

“Our work is not over here in North Carolina. But, as you know, extremism is at work in other states and has gained power in all three branches of our federal government, much as it did here four years ago. This moment requires us to push into the national consciousness …”

Barber says he will be joining a national movement that will be similar to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign to address issues of poverty and social inequality.

Barber pretty much has the same mission. He’s just moving on a larger scale.

We wish him well as he transitions, and urge North Carolinians to remain in the fight for social justice. The guard might be changing, but the fight remains.

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors