Moral Monday rally comes to the coast

By on August 14, 2013

A sign at Mountain Moral Monday Aug. 5. (N.C. NAACP)

A sign at Mountain Moral Monday Aug. 5. (N.C. NAACP)

Coastal Moral Monday Aug. 19 at Roanoke Island Festival Park was the 15th in a series of rallies opposing a long list of actions by the North Carolina General Assembly this year.

Protesters have been expressing concern and sometimes outrage at changes in election laws, education, women’s health care, fracking, the environment and more.

The NAACP – the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – is organizing the events, but sponsoring partners include the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, Democracy North Carolina, Planned Parenthood, North Carolina Association of Educators and the North Carolina Council of Churches.

On July 22, Jo Nicholas, League of Women Voters of North Carolina president, was a featured speaker at the Moral Monday rally that focused on voting rights.

Commentary | First of two parts

The league’s website includes a pledge to continue to fight to stop elections law changes that opponents say are repressive and an attempt to discourage participation in the voting process.

“The League of Women Voters of North Carolina, along with our coalition partners will do everything in our power to protect our democracy and ensure that all citizens have access to free and fair elections,” the pledge says.

“We call on the U.S. Department of Justice to use all means at their disposal to see that this legislation gets swept into the dustbin of history where it belongs.”

The first 12 rallies during the General Assembly session that ended two weeks ago included entering the Legislative Building in Raleigh to voice concerns.

General Assembly Police arrested more than 900 people. Among them were several Dare County residents, including Deborah Johnson, Judy Lotas, Patty Callum, Lovey Selby, Beth Storie and Linda Willey. Although the local arrestees were women, many men also were zip-tied and carted off to jail.

The diversity of the partners and their organizations’ missions are reflected in the makeup of rally attendees.

A scene from Mountain Moral Monday in Ashville Aug. 5. (N.C. NAACP)

A scene from Mountain Moral Monday in Ashville Aug. 5. (N.C. NAACP)

Judy Lotas, a Duck resident, is part of a growing Outer Banks community of telecommuters. She splits her schedule between working from home in Dare County and her New York City-based advertising agency, Lotas Patton New York Ltd, where she is a partner.

“I saw the news about what was happening here at home while reading the newspapers in New York. I decided that I needed to do what I could to help stop the voter suppression; and the hideous changes to women’s health made me furious. And then there was the tax reform which screwed the poor and rewarded the rich,” Lotas said

“I feel guilty about not taking action during the early Civil Rights movement in the South; this time I was not going to be silent.”

Tax reform legislation that drew her ire will result in less money to fund the state’s budget, which might translate into more cuts for state agencies and programs that have been subject to the fiscal knife in the past two years. Sponsoring legislators asserted that cutting the taxes will lure more business to the state, which will make up for the lost revenues. But while some will see their tax bills reduced because of loopholes left in place, others may pay more.

According to the North Carolina Justice Center, a family with an income of $24,000 will see about a $500 increase while those earning $1 million will get a $41,000 break.

Lotas was arrested on July 8 in the Legislative Building after refusing to leave.

“I like the Moral Monday format of being nondenominational and nonpartisan. And I agree with the Rev. Barber who says we have to strive for change without anger and to stay on message,” said Lotas. The Rev. Dr. William Barber is the president of NAACP North Carolina.

Lovey Selby of Manteo attended a few Moral Monday rallies before she joined the list of arrestees.

Moral Monday, Ashville. (N.C. NAACP)

Moral Monday, Ashville. (N.C. NAACP)

Selby, an employee at Basnight’s Lone Cedar, said she decided to participate because she wants to ensure that “the poor are fed, that children are educated and well nourished, and that everyone has the opportunity to have access to health care.”

It’s not about politics, but a personal mission for Selby.

“My mother and aunt are depending on me to do the morally right thing. It breaks their hearts to think that we are moving backwards and not forwards. Their heart breaks; my heart breaks. My dad and Uncle Calvin – may they rest in peace – would be so proud of me for doing the right thing. These are people that I adored growing up. I’ve heard the stories from the 40′s 50′s and 60’s so I get it. I have nieces and nephews who are depending on me. I want equality for all,” said Selby.

Recently passed legislation again cut public education funding, denied 500,000 low income adults access to health care by refusing to accept the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, and cut millions from the budget that would have provided programs for people with mental illness, developmental disabilities and addictive disorders.

Linda Willey, who with her husband Fletcher owns the Willey Agency, said her interest in joining the movement wasn’t about just one or two issues.

“I have concerns about all of them,” she said. “The week I was arrested, labor and the economy were the focus. It could have easily been any of the many issues that are going to have long-lasting negative effects.”

In an interview with Jeanne Bonds on the radio show, “Plain Talk Politics,” Willey said that she felt morally obligated to join the movement because of her deep concerns about what is going on in the state.

“I’m an Episcopalian and in church on Sunday, we pray for the least among us and pray for the just and proper use of God’s creation. Fracking in not the just and proper use of God’s creation. They don’t want to tell us the chemicals that are going to use,” she said.

“And we are not feeding the hungry. We’re not doing the things that in my heart I feel are important and the way I want to live my life and the way I want North Carolina to be.”

Willey said that she attended Moral Monday on June 24 because she was looking for a way to go and be with people who are like-minded.

Arrested on that day, she returned to Raleigh every Monday after that to participate.

“We didn’t go to be arrested. We went to petition the General Assembly to please listen to us. There were issues that we cared about and wanted to talk about. We wanted to be heard but, in that process, we were arrested and we were not heard – we were told to leave the building,” Willey told Bonds.

The 13th Moral Monday rally was held in Raleigh, but now with the General Assembly out of session, organizers are taking their case to each of the state’s 13 Congressional Districts. The first – Mountain Moral Monday – was held in Asheville and drew thousands of supporters. Simultaneously with the Manteo rally, a similar event will be held in Charlotte.

The Festival Park amphitheater area will open at 4 p.m. and the rally will begin at 6 p.m. A fish fry will provide dinner for $10. No coolers allowed, but lawn chairs or blankets are recommended.

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Bob Samuels

August 19, 2013 4:42 pm

Your comment on Art Pope is spot on.

To the others who keep bringing up Obama and DC politics into this discussion; Moral Mondays deals with policies coming out of Raleigh. I know it’s popular conservative jargon to blame everything on Obama (and I’m not saying he’s great), however, ya’ll need to move beyond your comfort zone and actually look at both sides of these issues. Compromise and meeting in the middle is the way that government is supposed to work. “My way or the highway” (current GOP philosophy in Raleigh) is not healthy for the citizens of our state.

KDH Rezident Evil

August 18, 2013 9:54 pm

You know, back when I played ball it always seemed the most mouthy team was the one who was losing. The reality check was to have them regard the scoreboard.
But politics is a bit of a different game with unlimited “quarters” and it seems the ones “winning” by the scoreboard right now are the ones with the most juvenile comments and ridiculous remarks.
Yes, the Republicans have their team intact, but what hasn’t dawned on them is that the coach just left on a stretcher and the team owner is looking for a way to invalidate the player’s contracts.
The scoreboard isn’t pretty for the Dems, but that’s fixing to change.


August 18, 2013 4:45 pm

Vballer, you are correct that NC state taxes are going up for many of us. This is why I won’t be voting to reelect any of these so-called “conservatives” in the General Assembly, nor our Governor.

“Grown-ups” don’t raise taxes on the middle class, cut taxes on the rich, and slash programs all at the same time. If taxes should be cut, cut them on everybody fairly. That’s what G.W. Bush did.

I don’t agree with extremist parties like the Libertarians or Constitution Party either. I’m just another moderate waiting for the day that the adults get put back in control. That isn’t likely to happen since special interest groups can spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns.

Let’s be honest about what’s happened in NC: Art Pope wanted a tax cut, so he bought himself one.


August 18, 2013 9:18 am

First of all, you don’t know me so don’t assume anything about me or what I ignore or don’t because you don’t know me Jon! Nixon was a piece of junk, to put it mildly. But I would take him in a heartbeat of what is in the White House now! I line up more with the Constitution or Libertarian Party More. Yeah my taxes are going up but from the state and because of Obamacare. The democrats in the state were in power way to long and now grown ups have to make some tough decisions. Purdue was a crony joke. Just another nanny state elitist that knows what’s good for everyone more than the individual. I have personally witnessed the cronyism firsthand from her and it sucked! I have run into the good ole boy democrats here in Dare and it turns my stomach. We need tern limits for everything so neither party can be entrenched like what happened in NC.


August 17, 2013 9:38 pm

Vballer, I am not a Democrat. Time was I was a Republican sympathizer, but that time seems to have passed many years ago.

At least when G.W. Bush cut taxes in 2001 and 2003, he cut them for just about everybody (which Romney then bemoaned in his infamous 47% remark; a big reason why he didn’t get elected). The NC GOP seems to be happy with cutting taxes for some (the rich) and raising taxes on others (the middle and working classes).

Why would I vote for a party that claims to be small-government and anti-tax, but then raises my taxes? That is curious, don’t you think? This General Assembly has raised my taxes about $1,000. I am not going to trust them again anytime soon.

As for voting rights, you are correct about the KKK in 1870. However, you ignore the modern history of both parties. Again, reread that quote from the Nixon strategist: the GOP purposely decided to appeal to racists in order to win elections. This is not the GOP of the Reconstruction era.

The problem for the GOP today is that Mr. Phillip’s statement in support the VRA is no longer true: there aren’t enough white racists left to constitute an effective majority, even in the South. So the GOP first ineptly tried to appeal to blacks and Latinos, which failed due to an obvious lack of sincerity. Their only other option is to try to stack the deck in their favor by suppressing the vote of the opposition.

These are the tactics of a party in its death throes. I do not celebrate that fact; our winner-take-all system needs two functioning, rational political parties to be successful. Both parties have gotten too extreme and the result is the gridlock of a dysfunctional government.

By the way, are your taxes going up or down under this tax “reform” bill that the Governor signed?


August 17, 2013 10:06 am

Fresh, I never said the the GOP wouldn’t have the same problem if unchecked! Don’t go assuming anything or put words in anyone’s mouth! There was an article not long ago about teacher housing here on the beach for Dare Co teachers. Funny no one else gets a break in housing! Now, that being said, other state workers get those same benefits as teachers correct???? Teachers get 2months off and can supplement their income if they chose so. Did teachers that have been employed X number of years have tenure in NC or not??? Answer the question! Tenure is a terrible thing no matter what job it is. A voucher program is sorely need in NC so that the public schools will need to compete and therefore excel to get that money! Why should students suffer because of a pitiful school system, and you don’t have to look far from here, when parents can take that money and get their kids in a better school. There are private schools near by busting at the seams because of sorry public schools!

Fresh Idea

August 16, 2013 11:33 pm

VBall; are you suggesting that the GOP does not now or has never run a ‘good ol’ boy system’?
To feel that public school teachers are getting, or are promised an aristocratic salary/benefits is faulty. It has always been a rigorous task with moderate pay but good benefits. Good-Bye to that. I’m with the teachers in this fight.


August 16, 2013 7:07 pm

@Jon, I am right on the money bub! Teachers like any other employes should be based on performance not tenure. I have seen your glorious democrat good Ol boy system at work and it stinks to high heaven. And. Sir I suggest that you read the history of your party.


August 16, 2013 8:45 am

I would add to Jon’s comments…
The current overreaching on the part of the extreme right will drive moderate republicans to either stay home on election day or vote for moderate Democrat candidates. Moderates in both parties are not single-issue voters. While evangelicals may not be pro-choice, they are beginning to voice their support for immigration reform and environmental issues.


August 16, 2013 12:35 am

Vballer, too many errors in your post to address them all, but I’d suggest that you read up on Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” to gain an understanding of why the traditional party alignments in the South shifted since the days of the Dixiecrats. For example, you could read a biography of Jesse Helms, who switched parties during his lifetime.

Or here’s a pertitent quote from a Nixon strategist, Kevin Phillips, in 1970:

“From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that…but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are.”

What Phillips could not have foreseen in 1970 was the eventual effect of immigration combined with the low reproductive rate of racist whites. The GOP’s days of majority rule are demographically limited to the next two, maybe three elections, then with the rise of the US citizen Latino vote the GOP will be forced to reinvent itself or lose relevance entirely. The GOP base won’t accede to the process of reinvention, so I’d bet on the latter outcome.


August 15, 2013 11:22 pm

The voter registration law is much more than just requiring ID’s. It limits early voting and absentee voting and also reduces places that you are allowed to vote, making it harder for some people to get to the polls. Not sure why they current administratiion wants to make it harder for people to cast a vote.
I’m curious where the stated extra $400 million in education is being spent. I guess it may be in the testing of every single subject area in middle school and high school as well as increased testing in elementary school.
I know teachers are not getting a salary increase for the 7th year in a row and next year teacher’s with a master’s degree will have $3000 deducted from their salary. Not sure how you can justify lowering a persons salary because they have strived to become more knowledgeable in their subject areaor how you can reneg on agreed upon compensation.
I don’t get any government handoust and I dont want any. I’m not for floating the poor either. But there are several things that dont add up with the current climate in NC and that is why I will be there Monday.

New native

August 15, 2013 9:42 pm

There are more rights than abortion. Where is their outrage about regime in DC spying on its citizens? I guess the other rights the Constitution gives us doesn’t matter as long as you can have an abortion. How moral is it to kill children an US citizens without a trial in drone attacks in other countries? Oh…you voted for that side. Get off your moral high horse you sheep.


August 15, 2013 9:41 pm

Boo hoo for the teachers! Cry me a river! Teachers have had pay raises in the last few years and get 2months off and can get a summer job while many other state workers have gotten squat in the same time frame! And for those of you that gripe about the rich getting tax getting tax breaks, one question for you. Have you ever been hired by a company owned by a poor person???? NO!!! As far as this groups race baiting tactics about voter IDs and saying that the GOP is racist, OMG give me a break! How many government IDs do you have? When must you use it? What do you buy that you need one?? Exactly! Those that think that the GOP is racists should also study history a little more and see which party tried to block the voting rights act along with the civil rights act! Yes….. MOocher Mondays!

New native

August 15, 2013 9:30 pm

Always funny to hear the word “moral” associated with politics. You are just a different flock of sheep.


August 15, 2013 8:29 pm

I’ll take this post to remind everyone of the categories of taxpayers who will see an increase in their NC taxes in 2014:

- working low-income parents
- middle-class families with more than two kids
- middle-class homeowners
- middle-class small business owners
- retirees with a pension

If you are in one of those categories and voted GOP, did you expect your taxes to increase?

OBX Resident

August 15, 2013 8:18 pm

OBX Wahoo and all of you that feel that you are not paying enough taxes; you are allowed to donate this money to public schools, governmental entities, and others. Put your money where you mouth is.

The reason that our State is having to take drastic measures is a result of years of unchecked spending. For instance in the UNC system, take a look at UNC-Chapel Hill, a lecturer who just so happens to be a former Dare County Manager/Attorney is being paid $183,491 a year ( The system needs to be fixed to stop paying these inflated salaries and pay the public K-12 teachers more. But, I am sure that this “lecturer” with an immoral salary is a strong supporter of these “moral” rallies. I am glad that the new admin is working to fix these issues.

Dr. J

August 15, 2013 7:42 pm

There won’t be a soul there. Don’t order too much fish. Why is it too much to ask that someone have a damn driver’s license or some form of ID to freaking vote??

For the 93 percent

August 15, 2013 5:25 pm

It amazes me that some people think those of us who are concerned about ALL are moochers. I own 3 homes, am retired, pay all my bills and taxes, and can still realize that I am PRIVILEGED. Not everyone can say that.

Nags head bob

August 15, 2013 5:08 pm

The irony of not understanding history is lost on those who lement the good old sixties. Those days of care free living that later gave birth to the credit card mentality. Got issues with the county schools, run for the school board. Don’t think your employees make enough to live on, give them a raise. It’s easy to be kind and generous when you’re spending money borrowed from your grandkids. At least it is for some. Juat remember that the same people supporting this are the ones who decided the Beach Plan was the fair way to handle insurance too.


August 15, 2013 4:05 pm

An opinion—so much of this is so ridiculous.

I’m all for a woman’s right to choose.

Regarding the “onerous” voter ID, it’s not effective until the 2016 elections. Even if someone who somehow can’t get a valid ID between now and then (give me a break.), goes to vote, they can cast a provisional ballot. What are Democrats so worried about?

Continuing to throw money at education has worked so well on a national basis (sarcasm intended). Tenure is just crazy.

We should help people who REALLY CAN’T help themselves. Too much of too many “handouts” are wasted on those who could be at least somewhat self-sufficient if they so chose.

So much of this smacks of “feel good” and not of common sense.

Chuck Sowers

August 15, 2013 1:37 pm

Wahoo, many of us have been very fortunate. We’ve been able to move ourselves from being the employee to being the owner. We’ve moved from being the clerk to being the manager. We’ve gone from being the teacher to being the principal.

But, we always remember what it was like to work for 12 bucks an hour (or much less). That’s not even a living wage these days. And to raise taxes on those people is an insult to America in my opinion.

I want my children and grandchildren to have the same chances at success as I had. But, our Legislators don’t seem to see it that way currently. We just got our High School graduation rate as high as it’s been in a long time. Thanks to having a better grade of Teacher than we used to have. Now, the government wants to cut education spending. I think the result will be worse education and a decline in the graduation rate AGAIN.

I am standing for my employees and our children. We want a better North Carolina….not a cheaper one!

Myrna Watkins

August 15, 2013 1:33 pm

This makes me so sad! All the work that was done in the 60s down the drain. We need good people like the old Chapel Hill flower ladies on your side. I wish you good luck… I thought NC was finished with the bigotry of Jesse Helms’s ilk. Alas.

Nags head bob

August 15, 2013 12:42 pm

This is all about dragging NC to the far left.

Nags head bob

August 15, 2013 12:39 pm

400 million increase instead of 900 million increase is considered a cut to the teachers union/association.


August 15, 2013 12:29 pm

I just hate my vacation is the following week. Would love to be across the street watching these clowns. Real concern for the poor? Food stamps at a all time high. Mostly part time jobs being created. Full time jobs going part time. They will follow their dear lead down the road to ruin. Community organizer in chief indeed.


August 15, 2013 12:22 pm

I have an idea. The League of Women Voters of North Carolina, Democracy North Carolina, Planned Parenthood, North Carolina Association of Educators and the North Carolina Council of Churches can channel all that extra energy to focus on the performance of our elected officials in Dare County and go over the budget. “Line by line.” to quote President Obama.
The Health Dept. received a $100,000. Grant – yes, free money – unused, nothing to improve the health care of the least among us. How many low wage hard working citizens lost out on an eye exam, help with dental care or help for prescriptions. Disgraceful, and I cannot imagine we would be eligible to receive this Grant again – since we have nothing to show for it.
So redirect all that energy into doing something useful. Line by line.


August 15, 2013 12:04 pm

The recent legislative session has set NC back in education, health care, women’s rights,voter rights, unemployment insurance and economic development. What kind of future do you want for future generations? My Christian faith taught me love for all and social justice. Jesus did not stand with the self-proclaimed religious,or the rich. He was with the hungry, poor, sick, homeless, and outcasts. I’ll be proudly standing up for what is MORALLY RIGHT on Monday evening!


August 15, 2013 11:14 am

I keep hearing about our education budget getting cut but when I go to the nc education web site and look at the spreadsheets I see an increase from 7.4 billion to 7.9 billion.


August 15, 2013 11:10 am

Amen Chuck.

I wonder where it is in the bible where Jesus calls the poor moochers? I seem to remember something about feeding and healing them though.

Sandy Semans

August 15, 2013 10:43 am

Barber was arrested April 29 which was when the demonstrations began.


August 15, 2013 10:12 am

Can anyone tell me if the Rev. Barber has every been arrested in any of these events?


August 15, 2013 8:49 am

You know, when I saw the $50,000 deduction on Turbo Tax this year… I saw the future under the GOP. If only I could stow my conscience, it’d be a nice ride.

But I can’t, so it’s off to Moral Monday I go to see if I can raise my own taxes so the poor don’t have to pay the difference. I’d rather be light in my wallet than light on morals.

Chuck Sowers

August 15, 2013 8:23 am

I will be in Manteo on Monday. Business owners like myself need to stand up and say that we are NOT going to be a part of the problem. But, rather we should be a part of the solution.

Raising taxes on my employees and lowering my taxes is WRONG, simply wrong.

Thank you for everybody who has gone before me and voiced many of the ideals and opinions that I agree with. The Moderate Citizens of North Carolina have been silent too long. And it’s time for more of us to stand up and be counted.


August 15, 2013 7:24 am

This response is to my Dare County brothers and sisters that were a part of the 55% that voted for Governor McCrory; the 57% that voted against Obama; and the 95% that did not vote for Sandy Semens Ross in the 2012 election. I am sure that you, like I, are dismayed that our county has been selected for this event and am confident that you recognize how it came to be. These are the people that want to close our beaches, demand money from our tourist bureau for the birders, give away our tax monies to those not in need, etc. One or more would like nothing better than to have some type of altercation in conjunction with this event so as to bring negative attention to our peaceful existence through a media that favors their views. So, please, I call upon you to restrain yourselves and refrain from anything that would give them what they want. Let them come, enjoy themselves, celebrate their distorted views and go home in peace, hopefully not to return. I do, however, encourage you to exercise your First Amendment right to free speech, with hopes the “VOICE” will allow your voice to be heard.


August 15, 2013 5:54 am

More like moochers modays! Going to try to be there to shout them down!


August 14, 2013 11:43 pm

The League of Women Voters of North Carolina, non- partisan , “give me a break”!

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