Thousands of people from across North Carolina and the country came to Winston-Salem on Monday, July 13th, to march for the full restoration of voting rights in the state that is home to what has been described as the worst voter suppression law in the country. Hundreds of those people were Unitarian Universalists from NC, eighteen other states, and Washington, DC.
Our UU planning team for the Mass Moral Voting Rights March extends our deepest thanks to all of you who showed up to support the movement in North Carolina! We feel enormous gratitude to those who took the time and took on the expense of travelling here. The UUs in Winston-Salem and across North Carolina who have been sustaining and building this movement felt so supported by your presence. In our debrief phone call yesterday, the lead organizer from the NAACP NC, Roz Pelles, called in to tell us that Rev. William Barber wanted us to know how much they appreciate the partnership with Unitarian Universalists and that they see that we have helped build the movement to be broad, inclusive and deeply moral. Roz also expressed appreciation for the UUs who have shown up at the Mass Moral Marches in Raleigh, committed civil disobedience at the state legislature, and are spreading the moral movement across the U.S.
Whether you were able to be in Winston-Salem or not, please join us for a "North Carolina Is Our Selma: Debrief of July 13 Rally and Next Steps" Voting Rights Webinar, next Wednesday, July 22nd at 8 p.m. ET. We will share what we learned from our experience there and outline some next steps for stopping voter suppression and building a powerful voting rights coalition in states around the country as part of a national movement for racial and social justice. To join this conversation, click here to register.
There are now 22 states that have enacted voter suppression laws. We need a national movement to oppose what UUA President Rev. Peter Morales says are “laws aimed at suppressing the votes of young people and people of color.” Rev. Barber calls this trend a “full-on assault on the voting rights of minorities.” In his keynote address at the march he said, "We need to remember that these rights were won by blood. Blood has been shed -- back then and right now…Fifty years after the Voting Rights Act was signed in blood, how dare somebody try to use political power to desecrate the blood of the martyrs? How dare they desecrate the graves and the memory and the blood of Martin and Medgar and James Reeb and Jimmie Lee Jackson and Viola Liuzzo and four girls in a Birmingham church and nine souls in a Charleston church? So you want to know why we've come to Winston-Salem? You want to know why this is our Selma? We have come to recommit and reconsecrate ourselves back to the movement. We will not let what was won be taken away. We will restore the dream."
Please join us next Wednesday: registration found here. Forward Together, Not One Step Back!
In faithful partnership,
The UU Mass Moral Voting Rights March Organizing Team:
Rev. Lisa Schwartz, Minister, Janet Leow, President, and LaTonya Richardson, Coordinator for UU Fellowship of Winston-Salem
Ticie Rhodes, Social Justice Coordinator and Forward Together Moral Movement organizer, UU Fellowship of Raleigh
Laura Williamson, James Reeb Voting Project Coordinator, All Souls Unitarian, Washington, DC
Rev. Carlton Elliott Smith, UUA Congregational Life Staff, Southern Region
Susan Leslie, UUA Congregational Advocacy and Witness Director