Rally slated to be held Monday
Local agencies are gearing up to help the N.C. NAACP brings its Forward Together Moral Monday movement to downtown Winston-Salem.
Democracy North Carolina, the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity and the local NAACP will help lead Monday, July 7’s Moral March to the Polls, which will be held in Corpening Plaza, 237 W. First St., beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Local groups met Monday to plan what they hope will be a large, enthusiastic rally that will send a message to Gov. Pat McCrory and a GOP-led General Assembly that the NAACP has accused of implementing laws detrimental to the state’s poorest and meekest.
Moral March to the Polls diverts from the landmark Forward Together Moral Movement, which largely consisted of a series of Monday protests in and outside of the General Assembly in Raleigh. This new movement will be spread out across the state and aims to get souls to the polls this November.
“The work going forward is to plan anything that you can through your networks to get people to vote,” said Ministers Conference President Rev. Williard Bass.
Winston-Salem’s is the first rally/march. Many others are planned for the months ahead. The rally will take place a few blocks from the Federal Building on Main Street, where earlier in the day a judge is expected to make a key ruling in the NAACP’s voter disenfranchisement suit against the state. (A limited number of seats will also be available in the courtroom. The case will be heard at 9:30 a.m.) State NAACP President Rev. Dr. William Barber II is expected to lead the rally and speak.
Chris Taylor, a NAACP Moral Freedom Summer Fellow, was sent to Winston-Salem to help with voter registration and education efforts. He has already begun canvassing areas of the city.
“I think that this next phase is going to have a lot to do with clarity and getting people excited about getting to the polls,” Taylor said. “Our goal for this summer is to register 50,000 voters statewide.”
He said locally, the goal will be to register about 4,000 people and get them to the polls for the general election.
“We have found out that there is around 3,600 people in Forsyth County who are eligible to be registered but are not,” Taylor said. “I want to find unique ways to get those people registered.”
Linda Sutton, Central NC organizer for Democracy N.C., said that the agencies are working in unison to make government truly for the people by the people.
“All of us (nonprofits) are involved because all of us have something at stake,” she said. “The issues involved in this movement all lead to voting. The people who we elect to represent us and our interests, the laws that are passed that impact you, your family and your children.”
Sutton said that the agencies plan to keep the momentum going up to November.
“People have not been participating at the levels that we would like so politicians have been left alone to do their own bidding,” she said.
The Ministers Conference, which includes mostly pastors who lead largely African American congregations, bills itself as nonpartisan, but Bass said members decided to get involved after getting a call from the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus.
“After we began to see the kind of legislation that was coming out of Raleigh, we knew that we had to provide a voice that brought truth to the conversation,” Bass said. “In the Bible, it talks about providing for the needs of the poor, sick and of the lesser person. We see that the legislature is not doing any of that.”
Winston-Salem resident Jerry Thomas has been to 28 NAACP rallies across the state. He plans to be at the one Monday.
“I go to the rallies because of what they (legislators) are doing right now, because the more people who show up and raise our voice in the aggregate, will wake up the people in North Carolina. It is all focused on the November elections,” he said.
Monday’s rally is open to all. For more information, contact Linda Sutton at 336-870-2168 or Linda@democracy-nc.org, or Rev. Bass at 336-722-8379, ext. 105 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit www.naacpnc.org.