RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An outspoken North Carolina minister who has challenged conservative state lawmakers through the "Moral Monday" movement is teaming up with the former pastor of an activism-oriented New York church for a 15-state tour to promote a "revolution of moral values" in the face of what they see as social injustice.
The Rev. William Barber and the Rev. James Forbes said Monday they want to encourage people to reclaim political discourse so that it focuses on love, justice and mercy.
At news conference at Temple Beth Or in Raleigh, they spoke about the tour called "The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values."
"Far too much of our national political discourse and activity has been poisoned by the dominance of regressive, immoral and hateful policies directed toward communities of color, the poor, the sick, our children, immigrants, women, voting rights, environment and religious minorities," said Barber, who founded the Moral Monday movement. "Our country is in need of a revolution of moral values to champion the sacred values of love, justice and mercy in the public square."
Moral Monday demonstrations began in North Carolina in April 2013 to protest issues including redistricting, labor laws, women's rights, gay rights and the environment. The weekly demonstrations often involved civil disobedience and led to hundreds of arrests.
It's now time for people to no longer embrace silence in the face of so much injustice, said Forbes, senior minister emeritus at Riverside Church in New York City. The tour "will remind our nation that even if dreamers' voices are silenced in death, there is no power on earth that can kill the dream of justice, peace and compassion," he said.
It begins Sunday at Riverside Church. The first revival will be held the following day, April 4 — the anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 — at Temple Beth Or.
The tour will include direct actions in state capitals on three Mondays in September along with actions in Cleveland and Philadelphia after the GOP and Democratic national conventions in those cities, organizers said in a news release.
In addition to New York and North Carolina, the tour will travel to South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma and Washington, D.C.
Moral Monday is the legislative protest piece of the broader Forward Together movement led by the NAACP. The group has gone to court over North Carolina's new voting law and has challenged the state's redistricting plans. The movement has spread to several other states.
Barber, who is president of the state chapter of the NAACP, said he's speaking out on this tour as a minister and founder of a group called Repairers of the Breach. He is minister of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro.
Martha Waggoner can be reached at http://twitter.com/mjwaggonernc. Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/martha-waggoner