According to the book of Esther, there was a time when enemy plans and weapons were being formed against a beloved people of God. Although Queen Esther was counted as one in the number of God's chosen people, at first, she was oblivious to the fact that she would be a casualty too. It took a relative to set her straight: "...if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" In 2014, the plans are made: the weapons are formed against yet others in God's beloved community.
"If you believe that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, if you understand that what happens in North Carolina has implications for the future of the nation, if you believe that we can build a moral movement together to save the soul of our state and country, then join us as we tell Governor McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly, 'Forward Together, Not One Step Back!'"
These are the words of the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. Dr. Barber is heralding the clarion call to people nationwide to join the Moral March on Raleigh on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. The march is part of the annual Historic Thousands on Jones People's Assembly (HKonJ) held in North Carolina. This year's march will challenge the growing attacks on voting rights, economic justice, public education, and equal protection under the law. Believing that the actions taken by North Carolina's governor and conservative leadership are indicative of what is to follow from like-minded political leadership in other states, Dr. Barber is compelling the nation to demonstrate solidarity with North Carolina by setting a 21st-century precedent in the struggle for justice — one that will prove reminiscent of the Selma marches of an earlier time.
Over the past year, the actions of North Carolina's top conservative political leaders have signaled a need for people of compassion, courage, conviction, and conscience to seize the moment to speak truth to power with tenacity and clarity. Some of these actions included the state's refusal of extended federal unemployment benefits, chopping of critical education resources, no support for competitive teacher pay, elimination of teacher career tenure programs, and the provision of tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit corporations and millionaires. These actions were met with fervent opposition as manifested by the 24 Moral Monday Marches held throughout the state that drew nationwide attention and support.
Joining the Moral March on Raleigh is not only for the support of justice in North Carolina. It is a voice for justice that will be heard in Florida, in South Carolina, in Georgia, and all over the world. We have been beckoned from our various states, stances, and stations of life to be in Raleigh. We must show that we know just what time it really is. Now is the time!
Vivian Lucas is the Team Leader and Director of The Franklinton Center at Bricks.
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