Group shares awareness for Raleigh protests

Jun. 07, 2013 @ 05:57 PM

The Vance County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hosted an awareness event for recent actions at the N.C. General Assembly Friday afternoon.

In the sanctuary of the Spring Street Missionary Baptist Church, about 60 people listened to Rev. Curtis Gatewood of the North Carolina NAACP and seven people who have been arrested with the “Moral Monday” protests in Raleigh.

“We’re trying to raise awareness,” said Timothy Daye of the Vance County NAACP, assuring the afternoon meeting was not a recruiting session. “Whether they want to go, that’s their personal decision.”

Gatewood and the speakers shared personal reasons for being involved in the acts of civil disobedience that have gained momentum. They began on April 29, when 17 people were arrested. Another 30 were arrested May 6, then 49 on May 13, 57 on May 20 and 151 this past Monday.

“This General Assembly is trying to take us all the way back,” Daye told the audience.

The protestors in Raleigh have spoken out against the Republican majority’s agenda, including education spending, women’s rights, estate taxes, private school vouchers and voter identification.

Republicans have said they respect the right to protest. A Democratic firm’s recent poll showed the protests are not getting favorable ratings.

In Friday’s meeting with a predominantly black audience, information was shared on the subjects being protested as well as what will happen for those who choose to be a part of the group arrested.

Gatewood said the NAACP’s actions are based on five areas in a 14-point agenda: economic sustainability, educational justice, equal protection under the law, health care for all and voting rights for all.

He went on to say legislators have drawn a line in the sand, crossed it and are kicking sand in the wound.

In his speech, he drew upon the Bible and scriptures to make points.

“If you ever needed Jesus,” Gatewood said, “you better bring Him into this.”

The meeting was spliced with chants, clapping and singing.

Among the seven who have been arrested on Mondays who spoke, none mentioned if Henderson or Vance County was their home. They talked about voter identification and education chiefly among legislative items, and a theme of being in the right place at the right time by taking action.

Democracy North Carolina was represented and passed out literature on legislators, giving grades similar to a school report card. The state leaders also said donations made during the meeting, among other purposes, would go toward bail money and water supplied to those at the rallies.

Gatewood told the gathering he has heard different measures may be utilized this week to try and get the protests to be stopped, including with use of fire hoses.

The General Assembly’s session will soon end, but the NAACP said it is expanding to “Witness Wednesdays.” The group hosted a national conference call announcing the move Friday that said it is the next step in the “campaign to challenge the regressive campaign against the poor, workers, minorities, seniors and students.”

 

Contact the writer at awooten@hendersondispatch.com.