REV. DR. WILLIAM J. BARBER II
(CNN) — In the face of injustice, the Book of Isaiah tells us to “cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet.” North Carolina’s State Constitution says the people have a right to assemble and petition their lawmakers for the redress of grievances. It is in this spirit that a growing coalition of North Carolinians is exercising its moral calling and constitutional right by challenging the shameful leadership of our state government — even if it means going to jail.
We don’t take civil disobedience lightly. But the avalanche of extreme policies from Gov. Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly — attacking the poor and unemployed, cutting crucial funding from public education and dismantling voting rights — left us no choice. From teenage college students to elderly grandmothers, we are assembling in the State Capitol, week after week, to sing, pray and force politicians to hear our voices.
After our first nonviolent protest, 17 of us were arrested and jailed. The next Monday, 30 moral witnesses were carted off in handcuffs, and the next week the number was 49. Last week, 57 protesters were arrested and jailed. Still more of us are prepared to put our bodies on the line to oppose the backward, far-right ideological vision taking hold in our state.