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Learn about the NC “Moral Mondays” peaceful protests

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Looking for inspiration via social justice actions? The charismatic and admirable pastor and civil rights leader Reverend Doctor William Barber II,  NC NAACP President, has organized the recent North Carolina Moral Monday demonstrations that have gained in participants and impacts each week. Moral Mondays are nonviolent peaceful protests including pray-ins, sing-ins, and teach-ins at and around the NC General Assembly in Raleigh at 16 W. Jones Street, aka “The People’s House” that our tax dollars support.

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The impetus? Recent actions of our General Assembly to advance legislature which will arguably restrict voting rights, womens rights, protections for people of color and immigrants, reduce health care access, expand gun rights, cut educational funding, roll back energy efficiency standards, encourage fracking, reduce water quality, and even to push for the establishment of a state religion. See this article at Daily Kos for details on the specific bills which have inspired such concern. Also see story at AlterNet about an 80-year-old NC educator arrested for her peaceful role. Participants have included numerous faith leaders, physicians, professors, students, historians, and civil rights supporters of all stripes.

Take a look at the videos documenting Moral Mondays here and here from the NC NAACP webpage. As of May 21′s fourth weekly gathering, 153 of the demonstrators who chose to go beyond and march into and remain occupying the legislative building have been arrested. This article from the Raleigh News & Observer provides an overview. Hundreds of additional supporters remained outside to support those going in. See this article from UU World and this post from Truth-out as well. Photographs included in this post were found elsewhere online.

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I have spoken by phone with someone at the NC NAACP office who told me they will be skipping a week for Memorial Day. The next event is scheduled for Monday June 3rd, and is expected to be the biggest yet. Folks who want to participate on June 3rd and show support WITHOUT being arrested will gather at 5:30pm at Bientennial Mall, immediately across the street from the Assembly building at 16 W. Jones Street in Raleigh.

Folks who want to go June 3rd and are WILLING to be arrested for civil disobedience will gather by 3:00pm at the Davie Street Presbyterian Church at 300 E. Davie St in Raleigh. Some folks arrested in previous weeks have been released by about 4:00am that next morning, since processing the paperwork for so many has taken some time. But if the numbers continue to grow as they have, release time could be later still.

There may be a group from High Country United Church of Christ and/or Boone in general trying to carpool down on Monday June 3rd. If you have interest in going, please email Cath at CathsNaturePhotos@yahoo.com as well in advance as possible to facilitate the planning process.

There is also a facebook “event page” for the June 3rd “Mega Moral Monday” which has info I found below as well as a place to rsvp at https://www.facebook.com/events/334641253331262/

 

 

 

NOTE: Not having any experience myself with civil disobedience, I have been making inquiries about the process of arrest etc. Here is the most helpful explanation I have received, as a description from someone who was arrested at a previous Moral Monday:

“We began together at 3:45 at church on Davie St in Raleigh. The first hour we introduced ourselves, were briefed by Rev Barber and the lawyers on what to expect, how to act, and how they’d be there to support us in whatever we needed (including a bondsman for those who might need bond posted). At 4:45 the media came in and selected people were filmed telling why they are choosing to be civilly disobedient. This went on for about an hour and then we piled in cars and headed to Jones St where our supporters greeted us and sang and chanted with us before we all filed into the building.

We assembled in the hallway in front of the Senate chambers and engaged in song and prayer, while some hold signs. There are leaders in song, chant and prayer. We also had some historians and would have had a “teach-in” but they arrested us pretty quickly. We were ordered by the GA Police Chief to disperse. Some, the supporters, stepped away from the doors and moved down the hall, but we stood in place which resulted in being arrested, handcuffed and led away where we were “processed” for the first time (some possessions removed) and put on a stuffy bus that took us to the Hammond Detention Center.

Once there we were searched and had more things taken away (shoelaces, ties, scarves, necklaces, etc) and seated in a new waiting area, on hard metal benches, segregated by sex. After waiting a while they began to call us back in groups of 2 or 3 for a second stage of processing. We arrived in this area at around 7:45. I was not called back until around 12:45, though some were called back at 8:45. 4-5 hours of waiting for me. It was tedious and we got tired and hungry (though I think we’ll arrange to have food at the church next week, so people can snack before starting out).

In the next stage of processing (much shorter) we were fingerprinted extensively, had mug shots taken, were given our arrest papers. We were charged with 3 misdemeanors (Trespass, Failure to Disperse, and Creating a Disturbance with Signs and Singing).

In the last stage of processing (another room) we, individually, went before a magistrate who set our bond. For those with no prior convictions we were given an unsecured bond* of $1000 (released on our own recognizance) and ordered to not return to 106 Jones St until after our case is resolved. This was another stage of processing, before a magistrate. Court date set for July 1. When we were released, our attorneys, Tim Tyson, and other supporters were waiting on the other side with hugs, cheers and lots of good food. These volunteer attorneys will represent us in court. They were on the outside of the magistrate’s office the whole time and prepared with a bondsman if needed for bail.

After we were released and ate some good food, there were volunteers prepared to take us back to our cars wherever they were parked (the church or the legislative building). We were also invited to be filmed by a documentarian who asks some questions about why you came. You’ve likely seen these on Facebook. We each have our own short You Tube
video.

I was home by around 3:15am, almost 12 hours from when we started. It was a long tedious night, but we had each other, with good conversation, singing, laughing etc and an eye-opening experience with the process of law enforcement and arrest – an opportunity to meet and bond with some wonderful folks.”

*That means that you have to promise to appear in court and will be subject to a fine in the amount of the bond if you fail to appear. This bond was apparently set at $1000 for my correspondent. But she did not have to pay the $1000 up front. She would pay that if she failed to appear in court on the appointed day.

 

 

SECOND NOTE FROM A SECOND SOURCE:

“The processing and bond can vary widely depending on the charge is trespass and you have no prior criminal record — it may take as little as 4-5 hours with no bail required, to overnight with whatever $$ amount the judge sees as appropriate — usually pretty low. There are folks there who are usually lawyers (we call then ‘green hats’ cuz they wear bright neon green ball caps), and they have the names and info on anyone willing to be arrested — you will not be mistakenly left there for example. The arrests are generally filmed now so that there is video evidence from a 3rd party.

A few tips — sharpie marker the phone number of whoever you need to call on the inside of your forearm – it is easy to forget a phone number when you are nervous.

Leave your cellphone in the car or with a friend not getting arrested — you can’t use it in jail, and the cops are busy mining your phone for evidence of their own while you are cooling your heels.

Make sure you have your DL or some other piece of ID on you – you will not be released unless you can prove who you are.

Eat something like a regular meal before the march – it is no fun being hungry and in jail.

Outside of that, relax and know that it is a proud tradition and statement of what sort of person you are — you will have a thousand or more people standing behind you — there are peole who hold vigil for you outside the jail for as long as you are inside — you are not alone – i hope that helps!”

 

 

 

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