On Monday, July 13th, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a federal judge will start the trial of our historical lawsuit, NC NAACP v. McCrory. We will put on our evidence to prove that the voter suppression tactics that were rammed through the North Carolina legislature in 2013 are race-based, have a disparate impact on voters of color, and were intentionally passed by Gov. Pat McCrory, then-Speaker Thom Tillis, and Senate leader Phil Berger to suppress the votes of Black, Latino, and poor voters.
We invite you to come to Winston-Salem, to attend this historic trial, and to be a part of a historic march on the first day of the trial. UUA President Rev. Peter Morales will be leading the march and speaking with us at the rally. Unitarian Universalist clergy from North Carolina have issued a call for you to join us. We will be honored by your presence. This is the most important lawsuit against voter disenfranchisement in the nation. Slate, The Nation,Think Progress, and Mother Jones called North Carolina's law the "worst in the country". Because it has a wide-reaching impact not only across our state but across the nation, North Carolina is this generation's Selma.
I know that many of you were gathered this past week at your General Assembly. There you lifted up the recommitment you and I made together at the 50th anniversary of Selma to rededicate ourselves to racial justice and the defense of voting rights. You heard civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis urge the faith community to respond to voter suppression. You adopted 'Black Lives Matter' as an Action of Immediate Witness, which states 'That the 2015 General Assembly recognizes that the fight for civil rights and equality is as real today as it was decades ago, and urges member congregations to take initiative in collaboration with local and national organization fighting for racial justice." I congratulate you on the passage of this statement and welcome your collaboration.
In his eulogy of Reverend Clementa Pinckney, President Barack Obama said, "He was the progeny of a long line of the faithful -- a family of preachers who spread God’s word, a family of protesters who sowed change to expand voting rights and desegregate the South. Clem heard their instruction, and he did not forsake their teaching." Rev. Pinckney and his parishioners were actively working to overturn South Carolina's voter suppression law. They were calling for the Confederate flag to come down. They were mobilizing for police accountability and marching for justice in the recent killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed African-American man shot in the back by a police officer in North Charleston. They understood that Black Lives Matter and Black voters matter.
We invite you to join us on July 13 to march through Winston-Salem as our predecessors marched in Selma, and to show North Carolina and the rest of the country that we will not surrender the most fundamental right of a democracy: the unabridged right to vote.
Before the march and rally we will hold a teach-in on voting rights and building the Moral Monday Forward Together movement across the South and beyond. On Sunday evening we invite you to join us for an ecumenical worship service.
We are grateful for our partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Association, President Morales, the UUA Southern Region, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Winston-Salem, and North Carolina UU clergy. They have set up an information and registration web page about the march and rally, the schedule of events, and housing options. Please RSVP there as well.
If you have any questions about the July 13 march, please contact Susan Leslie, UUA Congregational Advocacy & Witness Director at firstname.lastname@example.org; 617-948-4607. You can also find more information here.
We look forward to seeing you in Winston Salem on July 13.
In the Spirit of Truth and Justice,
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II
Reverend Barber is the Pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church, President of the North Carolina NAACP and architect of the Moral Monday Movement in North Carolina.