I can’t believe I’m still protesting this …

Photo by Phil Fonville. We gathered on Bicentennial Mall in Raleigh Tuesday to protest the lack of affordable health care for a half million people in this state.


I realized a couple weeks ago that I’ve been protesting war, poverty and misogyny for a half century.

I mentioned it to Rev. William Barber, who will leave the NC NAACP presidency next month to head the resurrection of Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign. King started the Poor People’s Campaign 50 years ago, and now I get to work with Rev. Barber to help revive it.

Rev. Barber, who’s 10 years younger than I am, just smiled, put his arm around my shoulders and told me he loves me for my passion.

A half century of trying to make things better and we’re headed right back to where we started, with incarceration as the new slavery, with women being shut out from decisions about their bodies, with voting rights skewed toward the wealthy and white, with children going to bed hungry, elders having to choose between food and vital medications, with wages far too low to cover necessities, with the poor and sick blamed for their plight and with war looming on the horizon.

I am horrified by the state of things, but I cannot give up. I stand with the photo of my late son and explain to anyone who asks that he died from lack of access to care.

So, even in the pouring rain, I went to the rally, and, as so often happens at Moral Monday rallies, the rain let up for the two hours we were there.

But, as so often happens with Moral Monday events, the legislators left early and locked up the building rather than risk having to talk to any of us. So, we had a huge poster with a few facts about what their refusal to expand Medicaid has done to this state, and the 200-plus people who attended the rally each signed it.

We left it tacked to the front door of the building as the chief off the General Assembly police looked on. It’s OK — he’s used to us and seems to bear us no ill will, but he will arrest us if told to do so. He has arrested me twice — so far.

Anyway, because we couldn’t get into the building last night, we will be back next Tuesday, and we will go into the building and sit down and wait to address our legislators, as is our right under the North Carolina State Constitution. They might arrest us again, but we will not back down. Lives are at stake here — a half million of them.

If you want to participate in the sit-in, be at the Bicentennial Mall (across the street from the General Assembly Building) at 10 a.m. next Tuesday. If you can’t participate in the sit-in, you can still attend the health care rally at 6 p.m.




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