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10,000 join Ashville Mountain Moral Monday protest

By Sarah Buchner

Mountain Moral Monday protest in Ashville.

Asheville, NC – 10,000 people gathered in front of the Buncombe County Courthouse, overflowing into the streets in Downtown Asheville for Mountain Moral Monday, Aug. 5.

Speakers addressed the egregious statewide attacks on women, immigrants, teachers, students and workers. Many protesters had signs addressing voter suppression, in particular HB 589, which is being called “the worst voter suppression bill in the country.”

Protesters blasted Senator Tom Apodaca, who represents several counties in western North Carolina, and who recently said that the Voters Rights Act is “a headache.”

The NAACP’s Reverend William Barber responded to these comments saying, “He used the same language that the white segregationists of 1877 used when the federal troops were pulled out of the south. They said now that the power and protections have been removed we can do what we want. So they passed a bill to eliminate early voting and same day registration – to suppress the right to vote, and to allow vigilante citizens to go into any precinct and challenge people’s right to vote. They passed a bill that allows more money to be put into elections, where people can buy those who are elected. You can tell Senator Apodaca he ain’t seen a headache until you’ve seen us fight to protect the right to vote. If you think we’re going to allow any group, you must be out of your dog-gone-mind!”

Reverend Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, director of the Asheville-based Campaign for Southern Equality spoke, “We have within us the courage and strength not just to stand up to unjust, unconstitutional and immoral laws like Amendment One and the recent voter ID bill, but also to change these laws. One things that history has made clear is that people change, laws change and our nation changes but it never ever happens on its own. It happens because people like us stand up and say ‘Forward together!’” The crowd enthusiastically replied, “Not one step back!”

Beginning in April the North Carolina NAACP organized thousands to protest every Monday at the state capitol in Raleigh to fight the Tea Party agenda being rammed through the state legislature.

Over 900 people were arrested during the protests before the North Carolina legislature ended their session on July 27. There are now plans to take these protests to all 13 North Carolina districts.

#AshevilleNC #RepublicanAgenda #voterSuppression #AmendmentOne #MoralMonday