FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
23 October 2013
For More Information: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President, 919-394-8137
Atty. Jamie Phillips Cole, Public Policy Coordinator, 828-713-3864
For Media Assistance: Laurel Ashton, Field Secretary, 828-713-3864
DURHAM – Just a few weeks after extremist ideologues swore on the General Assembly Bible to defend the Constitutions of North Carolina and the United States, they passed two bills that spit in the face of poor and working families across the state regardless of color, party, or geography. Gov. McCrory signed both bills into law.
The first bill rejected available federal Medicaid money that provided health insurance to more than 500,000 poor families. An estimated 2,800 people will die prematurely as a result of this decision. Almost one-fourth of working North Carolinians earn less than poverty wages for a family of four. More than one-fourth of North Carolina’s children live in poverty. One out of three children of color live in poverty! The Medicaid insurance money will be cut off abruptly on New Year’s Eve as the clock strikes midnight.
The second bill also rejected available federal funds for extending unemployment insurance to North Carolina families who were hit by the recession. Like the Medicaid insurance rejection, 100,000 families will lose their unemployment insurance on the morning of January 1, 2014.
Gov. McCrory supported and approved the ideologues’ regressive and mean-spirited bills. He apparently agrees that it is the poor and jobless people of North Carolina who are the problem. He and his ideological partners in the legislature, including Speaker Thom Tillis, President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, and Budget Director Art Pope, not only rejected available federal funds–they rejected the two basic tenets of all major religions and our constitution to love our neighbors and to create societies based on justice.
As we stand upon a precipice of a great human disaster and approach the season of redemption, the Forward Together Moral Movement calls upon Gov. McCrory to reconvene the legislature to rescind these draconian laws.
Faith leaders at the NC NAACP Convention on 12 October 2013 wrote a letter to Gov. McCrory that will be circulated online at naacpnc.org and through the Moral Monday/Forward Together Movement network. After gathering as many signatures as possible, the Movement will deliver the letter to Gov. McCrory on 27 November 2013, the first day of Hanukkah. The letter, included below, requests Gov. McCrory to convene a Special Redemption Session and rescind the two anti-family, anti-children, anti-poor people policies that were driven through in the early weeks of 2013. We call on this because while we dislike these policies, we love our elected leaders and the people of this state and we believe always in the possibility of repentance, redemption, and renewal. This type of session could renew many people’s hope in the possibility of a government that works for the good of the whole.
On Moral Monday, December 23, the Forward Together Moral Movement will hold a Service of Redemption in Raleigh to, we hope, celebrate Gov. McCrory’s successful Special Redemption Session, and the General Assembly’s grace and wisdom in rescinding the two inhumane laws. The Moral Monday Service will become a service of Redemptive Witnessing modeled after previous Moral Mondays, if Gov. McCrory and his ideological colleagues insist on maintaining their course of destruction. We will not stand silent, while our neighbors and families are excluded from the touch of human love and kindness by the rigidity of a band of ideologues. We will witness against these policies which go directly against our deepest constitutional values and our deepest moral values. The Forward Together Moral Movement will not allow hundreds of thousands of our neighbors in North Carolina to be crucified without a moral witness.
The Open Letter to Gov. Pat McCrory is Below:
Open Letter to Governor McCrory by North Carolinians of Good Will
Dear Governor McCrory:
We, the undersigned concerned clergy and people of good will in North Carolina, have seen the devastating impacts of the immoral policies of our state legislature, supported and approved by you. We write to remind you that the measure of a society is its treatment of the least among us — the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the incarcerated.
Our state’s policies and practices are being weighed on the scales of justice. They, and all of us who stand on the sidelines and watch them go into effect without raising our voices, are judged on the criteria established in our faith traditions and the principles in our documents which first constituted our nation and state. No matter which measure of human decency is used, our moral profile is a scandal. We ask you to focus on two of the most arrogant and hurtful policies you supported and approved.
Your denial of Medicaid insurance to some 500,000 of our neighbors will cause many to be without health care. The denial of health care is not because of their inability to pay or their lack of concern for their health. Rather it is caused by their own government! When this ideological policy goes into effect, it will result, according to some estimates, in 2,000 of our North Carolina neighbors each year dying untimely, otherwise preventable, deaths. We therefore implore you to accept the federal funds available for medical insurance for our half million neighbors which you rejected for ideological reasons at the beginning of your term..
Meaningful employment and a living wage are necessary for human dignity. We believe everyone able to work, should work. We must acknowledge we are in financially difficult circumstances. Thousands of our neighbors are still struggling to find work. North Carolina has the fifth highest unemployment rate in the nation. We therefore implore you to accept the federal funds available for unemployment insurance for our 170,000 neighbors which you rejected for ideological reasons earlier this year.
You have the power to address these two inhumane policies. In less than 70 days their full fury will be felt by our neighbors, as they both go into effect on January 1, 2014. We respectfully request that you call a Special Redemption Session of the Legislature, and use your powers to guide them out of the ideological and moral dead-ends of these dumb inhumane policies. We would be pleased to celebrate with you, on the Moral Monday that falls on December 23, 2013, when you lead the state away from these acts of moral irresponsibility.
We shall hold a Moral Monday Service of Redemption. The many faith and ethical traditions our Moral Monday movement represent all have special days we celebrate during this season.
You have said that as you govern you are “not afraid to step on toes.” As you step on toes, we pray you will not step on God’s toes. We pray you have the grace and wisdom to accept the federal funds for the medicaid and unemployment insurance for those who are eligible. We pray you will heed God’s call. We pray you will listen to all faiths and ethical commands. We pray you will uphold our constitution.
In the spirit of our Holy Scriptures and the Constitution,
Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler Rev. Dr. William Turner
Elder Carrie Bolton, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
The Initiators of this Letter
The Letter was first crafted by four clergy who were arrested during Moral Mondays last Spring. They are the Initiators of this Letter. They brought the letter to the NC NAACP 70th Annual State Convention, where it was unanimously endorsed by over 600 delegates and friends. We warmly invite all North Carolinians who agree with its two requests to sign below. We also invite you to participate in our Moral Monday Service of Redemption at the State Capitol in Raleigh on Monday, December 23, 2013.
The NC NAACP will deliver the letter to Gov. McCrory during the Hanukka and Thanksgiving season.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. The NC Conference of NAACP Branches is 70 years old this year and is made up of over 100 Adult, Youth and College NAACP units across the state, convenes the more the 150 members of the Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) Peoples Assembly Coalition, and is the architect of the Moral Monday & Forward Together Movement.