However, it’s not just voter ID that’s motivating these activists in their civil rights-era demonstration. North Carolina Republicans have embarked on a radically conservative path, cutting unemployment benefits, cutting taxes on the wealthy, raising taxes on the poor, restricting welfare and access to job placement programs, and rejecting federal money to expand Medicaid services.
A protest put on by the group in April resulted in 17 arrests as activists stood outside the legislature’s doors, joined hands, bowed their heads in prayer and waited to be hauled away. The NC-NAACP said at the time that their campaign of civil disobedience was just beginning.
They returned to the legislature Monday night with even more allies in-tow, including a group of women calling themselves the “Raging Grannies,” who performed some of the signature anti-war and anti-poverty protest songs they’ve become known for. “Arrest us and throw us in prison, if that’s what it takes to be heard,” they crooned. “But you can’t keep us quiet forever. The people will have the last word.”
Several historians from the University of North Carolina, pastors from around the state and a leading AIDS researcher were also arrested, the NAACP said.
“North Carolinians have decided they will not sit idly by and watch the leadership of the NC General Assembly take our state backwards to a time of greater inequality, intolerance and human indignity,” NC-NAACP President William J. Barber said in an advisory. “Our message is clear: we will not allow this legislature to trample on democracy and the livelihoods of the most vulnerable in our state without the world knowing about it.”
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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