The Austin Chronicle

The Hightower Report

To start a movement, start moving!

By Jim Hightower, April 4, 2014, News

Like that little choo-choo in the children's book, Moral Monday is the little movement that says, "I think I can" – and it just keeps chugging up the hill.

This progressive citizen's action coalition in North Carolina became a full-throttle citizen's uprising in the Tar Heel State early last year. Fueled by rising public outrage at the rampant right-wing extremism of the Republican-run state government, a few advocates for workers, civil rights, and other social justice issues went inside the state capitol on a Monday in April. Led by the Rev. William Barber II, head of the state NAACP, they literally put their bodies on the line in protest of the GOP's reckless crusade to turn North Carolina into a privatized utopia for unfettered corporate greed and Tea Party wackiness.

Several of the small group were arrested that day, and Republican leaders berated their protest as "Moron Monday." But the politicos aren't laughing now. The protesters keep coming and their numbers keep growing, for Moral Monday has struck a chord, and the protest has spread across the state. A rally in February drew more than 80,000 people, and public approval ratings for the governor and state as sembly have tanked.

The legislature is now out of session, but Moral Monday still has weekly meetings and is launching a 50-county organizing and voter-education campaign this summer. It's no longer a protest, but a burgeoning multi-issue, grassroots movement for progressive change. And it is literally on the move, branching out to other states – Moral Monday Georgia is going full steam this year, South Carolina has a Truthful Tuesday movement gaining momentum, and the movement is getting started in Alabama, Florida, New York, and Wisconsin.

Some of these states are mighty steep political hills for progressives to climb, but success begins with someone saying, "I think I can." To have a movement, you've gotta start moving!

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