Moral Monday’s Focus on Education Gets Lawmaker’s Attention

Photo via Hannah Rose Mendoza's facebook page

More than 1,000 North Carolinians called on the state legislature to restore funding for public school students’ education and to back off its attack on teachers’ rights and its support of school privatization in a Moral Monday rally at the state Capitol in Raleigh.

The Moral Monday protests began last year in response to Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) and the Republican legislature’s extremist agenda that has attacked voting rights, education, the environment, unemployed workers, health care and women’s rights.

Showing Moral Monday’s mounting pressure and its growing state and national high profile, for the first time a leader of the legislature met with the protesters who had been prepared for a sit-in and possible arrest.

North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R) met with some 15 teachers and student outside his office for about two hours. According to news reports, it was an occasionally heated but mostly civil conversation about the cuts to public education funding, the elimination of nearly 700 teaching assistants, public funds for private school vouchers and tying teacher raises to eliminating tenure rights.

While protesters said they appreciated that Berger met with them, they said they would continue their drive to protect students and public education. Bryan Proffitt, a 10-year teacher, said:

I won’t be satisfied until my students have what they need and our schools aren’t bleeding every day….We’ll be back if these conditions are not met. The reality is, with all the media attention we’re getting right here and all this conversation, we’re going to be back with a whole lot more folks.

The Next Moral Monday on June 16 will focus on workers’ rights.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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The Attack on North Carolina Voting Rights Will Not Go Unanswered

As the bill expected to disenfranchise 318,000 North Carolina voters, heads to the Senate Floor, protests are growing as people at the capitol and all over the state take action against this massive assault on one of the basic functions of a democracy.

“HB 589  which will eliminate same day registration, shorten early voting, eliminate state-supported voter registration drives, purge voter rolls and empower vigilantism at the polling place,  is another example of the avalanche of anti-worker bills proposed since Gov. Pat McCrory took office,” said Working America State Director Carolyn Smith. “North Carolina is at the heart of the battle against an extremist takeover of the state by politicians who do the bidding of corporate executives, and seek to dismantle the most basic components of a democracy.”

The law comes on the heels of the recent destruction of the state’s unemployment insurance system, massive cuts to public schools and a tax plan that promises to shift more of the burden from the rich to the poor.

Working America, which has nearly 30,000 members in North Carolina, has launched a petition and is talking to people at their homes and in their communities about the effect this and other bills will have on North Carolina’s democracy. It is organizing lobby days and have delivered several thousand petitions calling for an end to the attack on voting.

“We are watching, we are mobilizing and this will not go unanswered,” Smith said.

More details on the law can be found here and here.

Photo via @kristinrawls on Twitter

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