North Carolina is Our Selma: Mass Moral March for Voting Rights
On July 13, thousands of people including hundreds of Unitarian Universalists wearing Standing on the Side of Love t-shirts marched in Winston-Salem, NC, in support of overturning a vicious voter suppression law that was being argued just down the street inside a federal courthouse in the case N.C. NAACP v. McCrory.
Participants carried signs that read, “Protect Our Vote,” “North Carolina is Our Selma” and “Black Votes Matter.” The Rev. Dr. William Barber, II, leader of the N.C. NAACP’s Forward Together Moral Monday Movement, led the march and rally.
“So you want to know why we've come to Winston-Salem?” he said. “You want to know why this is our Selma? We have come to recommit ourselves back to the movement. We will not let what was won be taken away. We will restore the dream.”
The disappointing 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby v. Holder overturned key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that was passed in the aftermath of the historic Selma-to-Montgomery march. Following that 2013 ruling, voter suppression laws have proliferated across 22 states with more in the works.
These laws are aimed at suppressing the votes of young people and people of color by implementing new voter ID requirements and onerous voter registration drive restrictions. North Carolina’s law, for example, eliminates pre-registration of 16 and 17 year olds, disenfranchising many young voters.
Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), joined Rev. Barber in speaking at the rally. He told marchers, “We had good news when the Confederate flag came down, but the voter suppression law might as well have been printed on confederate flag stationery and it, too, must come down.”
Morales was joined by Jim Key, moderator of the UUA; Rev. Carlton Elliott Smith, Congregational Life Staff of the UUA’s Southern Region; Rev. Linda Olsen Peebles, president of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA); and Rev. Don Southworth, executive director of the UUMA, as well as civil rights and religious leaders representing many faiths from the state of North Carolina and across the country.
- Support the UUA’s work for voting rights and racial justice organizing by donating to the James Reeb Fund.
- Learn more about voting rights and election reform.
- Read the “Support the Black Lives Matter Movement” 2015 Action of Immediate Witness that was passed by delegates at General Assembly.
- See great pictures and watch a video of the event from the North Carolina NAACP chapter.
- Find a Black Lives Matter chapter near you.
- NC elections-law trial begins in Winston-Salem, The Charlotte Observer
- Thousands march through downtown to protest law, Winston-Salem Journal
- Voting rights trial in North Carolina begins: ‘This is our Selma’, LA Times
- Key voting rights trial set to begin, MSNBC with Melissa Harris-Perry