A movement for social justice and political change that began in North Carolina will officially begin its wave in Indiana next weekend.
What has become known as the Moral Mondays Movement has spread to the Hoosier state. The movement’s official launch kicks off Sept. 19 – 20 with a visit from Rev. Dr. William Barber II. The North Carolina minister is the president of the North Carolina State NAACP and the leader of the Moral Mondays grassroots campaign.
“We want to bring attention to whole communities across Indiana that suffer from systemic racism and poverty,” said attorney Barbara Bolling Williams, president of the Indiana State NAACP and a spokesperson for Indiana Moral Mondays. “Reverend Barber and Moral Mondays have made great strides in North Carolina and other states by giving a voice to the voiceless and justice to the poor, and we need that voice here in Indiana.”
Barber’s message strives to bring attention to what he calls the “moral crisis” in our country. The movement began after North Carolina elected a conservative Republican legislature and governor in November 2012. The new legislative agenda included change to election laws that restricted voting, cuts to unemployment benefits and higher education spending, and a block on Medicaid expansion. On the last Monday in April 2013, Barber led a group of clergy and followers to the North Carolina state legislative building to protest the changes. Each Monday following the initial protest, the crowd grew in the capital and spread across the state. Moral Mondays was born.
Indiana Moral Mondays organizer and volunteer Nancy Holle said all it took for the local movement to ignite was to hear Barber’s words.
“We showed a video of Dr. Barber at a meeting of the Community, Faith and Labor Coalition,” said Holle. “I and a few others had seen it before so it was just as exciting to watch the group react to his words as it was to hear them.”
The video inspired those in attendance to begin laying the foundation to bring the movement to Indiana. Sine then, organizational meetings have been held in Indianapolis, Lafayette and Bloomington. The Indiana NAACP and its local branches were immediate partners. Other partners include labor, environmental, community, and women’s groups. Holle said they are also reaching out to immigration groups and other partners whose mission and vision would fit the movement.
Barber’s return to the Circle City has special meaning. He was born in Indianapolis on August 30, 1963, just two days after the March on Washington for Civil Rights in America. His parents, originally from North Carolina, moved back to the Tar Heel state when Barber was in kindergarten with the sole purpose of actively integrating the state’s segregated schools. With the rise of private school vouchers and the attack on public schools, Barber has said he is fighting to save and protect the very institutions his parents fought for 50 years ago.
Holle agrees the Moral Mondays movement is a re-birth of similar initiatives from the ‘60s. She says Barber and Martin Luther King Jr. are similar in how they inspire all types of people to stand up and speak out in order to make change.
“As Dr. Barber says, ‘not a moment. It’s about the movement,’ ” said Holle. “And this movement is non-partisan and crosses racial and generational lines.”
The weekend will include training workshops with Barber on to how to build a strong movement, an interfaith service with a private reception for area clergy, and a rally and march from Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School to the Indiana Statehouse.
Partners for the weekend and the movement are continuously being accepted. Information is available on their website, indianamoralmondays.org.
“The goal of the movement is to show moral dissent to extreme laws and to return to morally governing for the people,” said Holle. “They need to stop doing TO the people and get back to doing FOR the people.”