They came in droves. White. Black. Gay and straight. More than 25,000 citizens marched alongside AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. and civil rights leader and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAAP) North Carolina President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber on Saturday, February 13 for Moral Monday -- a movement marked by marches and civil disobedience to protest the marginalization and unequal treatment of North Carolina residents.
North Carolina is marred by some of the worst voter suppression laws in the country. In order to vote, residents must present government-issued photo identification cards. They have lost the right of same-day voter registration, and under the laws of their state have limited access to early voting. In an article titled The Decline of North Carolina, the New York Times called this "a blatant effort to reduce voting strength in college towns like Chapel Hill and Durham."
These restrictions attack the democratic process by preventing more people from voting – especially those at lower rungs of the economic ladder. As a result, lawmakers who are elected oppose basic quality of life improvements that most Americans support: raising the minimum wage, funding clean air and water research, providing public schools with additional resources, and creating good-paying jobs.
“I’m marching today because I have to,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. "I believe in the right to vote, and the right to vote belongs to everybody."
Cox was joined by a large contingent of AFGE members from North Carolina and members of AFGE's Women and Fair Practices Department.
Since the protests began in 2013, thousands have been arrested. At Saturday’s march, those who have been arrested in the past wore green bands in a show of pride and solidarity.
AFGE believes in the constitutional right of every American citizen to vote and will fight any effort to take away that right.
For more information on what AFGE is doing to protect voting rights, visitwww.afge.org/VoterProtection.
The No Vote Left Behind program's purpose is to educate our members on the attacks on voting rights across the country and why they're happening, what is currently being done to sure up voting rights for everyone, what they can do as members to get involved with the fight, and make sure that they are aware of current and pending voting laws in their city/county/state.
The theme of this year’s Diversity Week is "We Who Believe in Freedom", which conveys the urgency that union activists feel about the current state of civil rights in this country.
With the attacks on public sector workers, women, people of color, low wage workers, our children’s futures, and unions…the time is now to take action! We must use every tool at our disposal to uplift the issues of gender justice, racial justice, working class justice, voter suppression and the many inequalities bred into unfair systems in this country. We have to take the responsibility of getting active and involved by educating our members, talking to our family, friends and neighbors, and getting involved in our communities.
Diversity Week will take place August 12-19, 2016 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, beginning with the Y.O.U.N.G. Training Summit August 12th -14th. The Human Rights Training will begin on August 15 and will include an AFGE Pride Training.