Five years after it started, the Moral Monday movement is still going in North Carolina.
On Monday, you could hear chants of, "What do we want? Justice! How we gonna get it? Vote!”
These chants echoed across from the Macon County Courthouse as the Moral Monday rally made its way to Franklin. The movement began in 2013 as religious leaders and others were arrested for protesting at the NC State Legislature in Raleigh.
In 2016, then North Carolina NAACP president Rev. Dr. William Barber spoke to around 300 in Sylva in Jackson County. Barber co-founded the Poor People’s Campaign which works alongside Moral Monday rallies to discuss what he sees as moral issues in politics.
This week’s rally in Franklin brought the movement even further west, says Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman. He is the current president of the North Carolina NAACP. Spearman says its important to include rural areas in the conversation - even if they historically vote conservative.
“There’s always point in coming because people hurting everywhere. This fight that we are fighting it’s not really Republican versus Democrats. Its right versus wrong," says Spearman. "So sometimes we can speak to folk beyond the divides of politics and that’s what inspires me the most.”
Locals spoke at the rally about healthcare, education and the opioid crisis. Spearman also reminded citizens to vote.
“We’ve got to get people out to vote," says Spearman. "It doesn’t matter who you vote for but stimulating civic engagement to the point where we get more people out to the polling place is the most significant thing.”
Around 90 people attended the rally according to the Jackson County NAACP, which hosted the event.