Moral Monday Movement Coming to Georgia
(APN) ATLANTA — Since August 19, 2013, a “Moral Monday” movement has been building in Georgia to take back our State government from the interests of corporations and wealthy people. The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, which includes people of faith and citizens of Georgia, has been meeting every two weeks to plan for progressive actions during the 2014 Legislative Session.
The group seeks to duplicate the organizing successes of the Moral Monday movement formed in North Carolina in April 2013, which has also focused on opposing repressive and oppressive social policies through protest tactics that have included civil disobedience.
Over eight hundred people have been arrested in Moral Monday protests in North Carolina that have involved entering the State Capitol and then being arrested. Weekly attendance in North Carolina has been estimated at around 2,500 people.
North Carolina’s Moral Mondays have focused on opposing Republican redistricting and other voting changes; cuts to social programs; proposed tax changes that would increase the sales tax; cuts to public education; challenges to abortion rights; and other issues.
Similarly, Georgia’s Moral Monday coalition will facilitate legislative actions and rallies, designed to put moral issues and priorities at the heart of the political agenda.
These opportunities for educational outreach will bring together a remarkable cross-section of people representing different groups, causes, and identities, coalescing around a common agenda of fundamental human rights and equality.
Progressives from across the State will gather during the Legislative Session beginning on January 13, 2014, to express their concerns about the announced political agenda of the extremist veto-proof Republican-led Legislature that is working in concert with a like-minded Gov. Nathan Deal.
The legislators’ and Governor’s extreme and immoral agenda is a declaration of war on the people of Georgia, including women, minorities, children, and elderly people.
The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition believes that the extreme policies that have been advanced by the Legislature and the Governor’s Office reflect practices of oppression and humiliation. They believe the Legislature is attempting to limit access to power to the hands of a select few, and to undermine public services and public response to the needs of the most vulnerable. This results in a system of inequality.
Examples of Republicans’ policy priorities for Georgia have included the failure of Gov. Deal to allow Medicaid expansion in Georgia pursuant to the Affordable Care Act of 2010; efforts to put restrictive voting measures in place; and education spending policies that divert money from public schools to private schools.
In order to hold the legislators accountable for their actions, the coalition will compile Legislative Report Cards, information about laws passed by the Legislature and the votes of each of our Legislators.
On December 09, 2013, in Raleigh, North Carolina, Moral Monday’s founder, the Rev. Dr. William J Barber II, President of the North Carolina Chapter of the NAACP, convened a briefing on principles guiding the North Carolina movement.
People of faith, community leaders, and social justice leaders from each of the Southeastern states presented strategies for building successful grassroots movements in their states.
Barber provided a detailed, timely case study for building grassroots movements that last.
He offered a “strategy for addressing poverty and economic injustice” with “lessons for the nation.”
The lack of Medicaid expansion is representative of many issues that greatly affect the entire Southeast, he said.
A video of Rev. William Barber speaking on the Moral Monday North Carolina Movement is available on the APN Video Section:
Barber likened the Moral Mondays moment in our history to an “America [that] is pregnant and the water has broken.”
The deacon of the Moral Monday North Carolina movement, Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, sees “orderly Moral Monday as an act of faith.”
The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition Platform consists of twelve statements, while the initial focus of the movement will likely be on the first three or four points:
(1) PROVIDE AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE FOR ALL – We call upon Georgia to stop the war on the poor and working people by accepting federal funding for Medicaid expansion that will provide health insurance for an additional 650,000 Georgians. Access to high-quality health care is a right of all people and should be provided equitably as a public service. Georgia can make good progress in this regard by fully implementing the Affordable Care Act in Georgia.
(2) PROTECT CITIZENS’ CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO VOTE – The right to vote is the cornerstone of a good democracy. We must make sure that the access is open and encouraged for maximum participation in the election process. Any attempts for racial or class gerrymandering that limits voting on a pre-text of unidentified voter fraud must be challenged.
(3) ENACT COMMON SENSE GUN LAWS – All people in Georgia should be safe from random acts of violence that are allowed through the proliferation of guns in our society. Mass and targeted racial shootings need to be addressed by the state legislature, so that we can all be safe from gun violence.
(4) ALL CHILDREN NEED HIGH QUALITY, WELL-FUNDED, DIVERSE PUBLIC SCHOOLS – Strong public schools dedicated to teaching all children are Georgia’s best hope for the future. We call upon the State to fully fund public education from pre-kindergarten through higher education and to restore the eight billion dollars in funding cuts from education over the last ten years.
(5) EQUALITY FOR ALL
(6) ALL WORKERS SHOULD BE GUARANTEED A LIVING WAGE AND A SAFE WORKING ENVIRONMENT
(7) PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF ALL IMMIGRANTS
(8) PROTECT AND PRESERVE THE ENVIRONMENT
(9) TAXES IN GEORGIA SHOULD BE ADEQUATE, EQUITABLE, FAIR AND PROGRESSIVE
(10) REFORM THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
(11) PROVIDE AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND STOP CONSUMER ABUSE
(12) ALL PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHT TO A GOVERNMENT FREE FROM CORRUPTION
The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition will have its first day of official action on January 13, 2014. The group invites citizens to attend, from 12:30pm to 3:30pm, a briefing focused on Medicaid expansion at the Central Presbyterian Church, across the street from the Gold Dome; and to stand on the south steps of the Georgia State Capitol from 4pm to 6pm “to fight for justice, equality, human rights, and the moral decency of the State of Georgia.”
The next Moral Monday Georgia Coalition planning meeting will take place on December 16, 2013, from 7pm to 9pm, at the Communication Workers of America (CWA) local 3204 office, at 279 Logan Street SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30312.