The “Moral Mondays” movement, which started in North Carolina as protests over the Republican-dominated state government’s anti-worker, anti-gay and anti-minority actions, went national this week with “Moral Day of Action” protests in 30 state capitals, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the country.
Joined by union members, civil rights groups, peace groups and other progressive organizations, the demonstrators demanded politicians and officials commit to a platform of moral causes, including workers’ rights, voting rights, and an end to discrimination by race, sex, gender, disability or other characteristics.
Other causes, all listed in the “Higher Ground Moral Petition” that participants presented to elected leaders in each city, included economic justice, universal health care, environmental justice, comprehensive immigration reform, campaigns against xenophobia and criminal justice reform. The petition also calls for redirecting resources away from “war mongering.”
In each city, Moral Day of Action speakers added local causes to the national agenda.
For example, pro-union Rev. Graylan Hagler, who organized the D.C. demonstration, called for statehood – and an end to ultimate congressional control over city decisions. And Washington Teachers Union President Elizabeth Davis demanded an end to “profitization of public schools.” Members of UFCW Local 400 and Service Employees Local 500 were among the more than 100 D.C. marchers supporting Davis, Hagler and the other speakers.
In Albany, N.Y., participants delivered the petition after a march down State Street to the state capitol. The New York version calls on officials to “respond to the urgent needs of the poor, people who are ill, children, immigrants, communities of color and religious minorities,” organizers said. The New York Clergy-Labor Coalition led more than three dozen directly affected people in the march.
And in Richmond, Va., marchers “called on the governor, state legislators and candidates for office to move away from extremist politics and policies that benefit the few and move toward policies and laws that are just and fair and guarantee a better life for the majority of the people.” Whether the GOP-run Virginia legislature would listen is open to question.
One demonstration, in Chicago, was not in a capital. There, led by the Service Employees’ state council, workers at two big hospitals – Mt. Sinai and the Schwab Rehabilitation Center — joined the nationwide Fight for $15 and a union, and tied it into the Moral Day of Action.
- Press Associates, Inc., contributed to this report.