Written by Anthony Moujaes
The pastor behind the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina will be the featured guest for a night of music, fellowship, and discussion at Andover Newton Theological School. The Rev. William Barber II's inspiration for Moral Mondays fueled about 2,500 people weekly to speak out for justice; Andover Newton students hope he will fuel their call for faithful work in their future ministry.
Moral Mondays spurred acts of civil disobedience in protest to the North Carolina General Assembly's legislative moves in recent years on topics such as the state budget, healthcare, education and voting rights. Barber and the tens of thousands of Moral Monday protestors have claimed those laws are a detriment to citizens of the state, and don't represent the interest of the population. The protests, which caught the attention news organizations from around the nation with more than 800 peaceful arrests, began in April and concluded in Raleigh in August, but there were several more demonstrations to rally citizens in other North Carolina cities.
Thousands of North Carolinians protested weekly during the spring and summer at the State Capitol in Raleigh, and hundreds of United Church of Christ members chose to be arrested in public acts of disobedience to voice their disagreement with the direction of the legislature.
Barber, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., will deliver an address titled "Disappearing Civil Rights: The Rise of Jim Crow 2.0" on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at Andover Newton's Wilson Chapel. Barber is a pastor of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a full communion partner of the UCC.
The Andover Newton Student Association is organizing Barber's visit.
"In providing Rev. Barber a platform here, we celebrate the great legacy of generations of students at our institution, electing in our day and in our way to give voice to the cries of those most marginalized in our faiths, nation, and world," said George Oliver, the student association president. "It is our belief that Rev. Barber prophetically speaks to people everywhere, summoning us toward collective action in answer of God's call to serve our neighbor, as we strive to embody our sacred texts. We expect to leave this event inspired to continue repairing the national breach that so many great women and men of faith gave their lives and legacies to bridge, because we know that we're climbing the ladders that they propped up for us. Our gratitude fuels our adamant refusal to turn back the clock on their sacrifices."
Andover Newton Theological School, founded in 1807, is the first graduate school of any kind in America. Always an innovator in religious education, Andover Newton is internationally recognized as a leader in interfaith learning.