by Danny Hooley
The Rev. William Barber’s news conferences may not pack the third-floor conference room of the N.C. NAACP’s Durham office compared to a year ago, but that doesn’t stop him from using the space to announce big plans to a smaller group of reporters.
On Thursday afternoon, flanked by Rev. Curtis Gatewood and N.C. NAACP executive director Michelle Laws, with more supporters standing behind him, Barber talked about organizing plans.
“This is our Selma,” said Barber. “This is our time. This is our vote.”
It all begins with the 10th annual HKonJ rally and march In Raleigh on Feb. 13. Assembly begins at 8:30 a.m. across from Memorial Auditorium and Shaw University on East South Street, followed by a march at 10 to the State Capitol.
“All eyes are on North Carolina, because we have the worst voter suppression tactics in the country,” said Barber. “Legal scholars across the country are saying that what is happening in North Carolina determine what will happen in courts, and in voting rights throughout our nation – especially throughout the south.”
As a federal judge in Winston-Salem decides whether 2013’s Republican rollbacks of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in NC are unconstitutional, Barber and the Moral Monday movement plan to move ahead with big voter education and volunteer recruitment efforts in the coming months.
Speakers at the Feb. 13 event will include people who, in Barber’s words, “have been impacted by these policies” – teachers, students, underpaid workers, and immigrants who are fearful of being deported.
All those who were arrested during past Moral Monday protests will be asked to “put on their green armbands again” and show up, said Barber.
One very special participant, David Goodman, is the brother of Andrew Goodman, who was murdered in Mississippi by the KKK in 1964, along with fellow civil rights workers James Chaney and Michael Schwerner.
Barber said the N.C. NAACP’s next goal is to organize 3,000 faith communities, a minimum of 4.500 volunteers, and to lead “deep dive organizing” in 55 counties, while organizing in at least 90 counties altogether.
“Our youth, this summer, are going to re-enact Freedom Summer,” said Barber. “They’re not going to just read about it in history