NAACP steps up rhetoric against Republican leaders
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Rev. William Barber, the president of the N.C. NAACP, harshly criticized again Thursday the policies of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders that Barber maintains are unconstitutional, morally wrong and economically unjust to the state’s residents.
Barber said that the refusal of GOP leaders to expand Medicaid to cover an additional 500,000 North Carolinians as well as cutting unemployment benefits to 170,000 people, cutting public education, cutting taxes for wealthy individuals and implementing a voting identification law has harmed North Carolina.
“It’s wrong,” Barber said. “We got to fight it. Our goal is to take this state to a higher ground.”
He described those policies as a “Carolina coverup and a catastrophe.”
Barber made his comments during a news conference at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Winston-Salem as part of the NAACP’s Moral March Tour across the state. Barber spoke Wednesday in Asheville, and he was scheduled to speak in Greensboro and Burlington later Thursday.
The tour is designed to stimulate public interest in a scheduled Moral March on Raleigh on Feb. 8, Barber said. Organizers will lead demonstrators in a rally at the General Assembly building on Jones Street.
“It is part of a call for all of our people to come to Raleigh,” Barber said.
Last year, the Moral Monday movement attracted 17,000 people to protests outside the Legislative Building on Mondays when legislators gathered for their sessions. Barber told about 30 supporters Thursday at Emmanuel Baptist that Wake County prosecutors dismissed charges against more than 50 people who were arrested last year during the protests.
Barber told reporters Wednesday in Raleigh that the cases were dismissed after two protesters on trial Tuesday were acquitted by District Court Joy Hamilton of Wake County.
“The courts are now agreeing with us,” Barber said at Thursday’s news conference. “The DA office (has) to recognize this, that the state’s case is falling apart because you cannot pass rules that deny people’s constitutional rights to assembly and bring a redress of grievances to their government.”
McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger are supporting policies that “rob the poor of their rights,” Barber said. The state NAACP is targeting North Carolina because it is a Southern state, and the civil rights activists believe that if they can change oppressive government policies in Southern states, then they can change policies in other states, he said.
“This is the kind of movement that has always changed America,” Barber said. “We are called to a deeply moral and constitutional view of society.”
Read more: The Winston-Salem Journal