According to documents held by Wake County Clerk of Superior Court, the 15
fast food workers and pastors who were arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience in
Thom Tillis's office earlier this week are not allowed back at the General Assembly
until July 11th, after Moral Monday is over.
Rev. Barber and the NAACP held a press conference this morning
where those now being referred to as the "Tillis 15" shared stories of why they
had engaged in the direct action.
Rev. C. Anthony Jones Jr., of United Methodist Church in Winston Salem,
felt compelled to engage in his first act of civil disobedience because, he said, "I could literally hear the bones and blood of my forebrothers and foresisters, the call of my ancestors lost in the Atlantic slave trade."
He said he had begun to feel that the policies of the General Assembly
"embody evil" and had mulled over Dr. Martin Luther King's famous remark:
"silence is betrayal."
Crystal Price, an employee at a Wendy's in Greensboro and single mother
of two kids cried when she described having to choose between making
sure her kids had food and adequate medical care or taking care of her
own cervical cancer. "I get on my hands and knees and cry because I'm in such severe pain sometimes.
If I had Medicaid I wouldn't have so many worries about my health."
Another arrestee, Randolph Perry, 20, works at a McDonald's in Raleigh. "It feels amazing to actually be involved in this movement. I've seen documentaries about Dr. Martin Luther King, about the civil rights movement, and it feels so amazing to be part of this. We want them to raise our wages to $15 an hour—people have bills to pay, people have debt, we struggle with house payments, it's all a struggle."
Rev. Jones said that the police had put the zip ties on his wrists so tight that he still couldn't feel his thumbs, four days later.
Rev. Barber said the goal of a movement is to "shift the center of political gravity. We have to change the contour and atmosphere in which they must work."
This coming Monday, Moral Monday will take place at 5 PM at 16 West Jones Street. The focus of this coming week's event is "Health and Environment," particularly responding to the Duke coal ash spill, the state's refusal of Medicaid expansion, and this week's austere Senate budget proposal which attempts to shrink Medicaid
for the disabled even further.
"Nelson Mandela said, 'it always seems impossible until its done.'"