RALEIGH — State Rep. Garland E. Pierce and fellow members of the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus joined Moral Monday protesters outside the legislative building this week in a show of solidarity.
Pierce, D-Scotland, represents roughly half of Richmond County in House District 48. He is chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, which joined the Moral Monday demonstration along with the General Assembly’s Democratic caucus.
“This movement has changed the way we discuss policy issues and more of our constituents are becoming involved in the political process beyond casting their vote,” Pierce said in a statement. “We are supporting the Democrats, Republicans and independents who are visible and vocal on the issues that affect their families and neighbors.”
North Carolina’s state NAACP chapter organized the first Moral Monday protest to demonstrate against the Republican-controlled General Assembly’s conservative policies, including voter identification and limits on early voting that critics say are meant to suppress the minority vote.
State lawmakers convened in Raleigh for the 2014 short session last week. The state Legislative Services Commission revised the rules for entering the legislative building by a 7-3 vote, and many believe shutting out Moral Monday protesters motivated the change.
“This is a movement, that is continuing as the General Assembly continues to ignore the people of North Carolina,” said state Sen. Earline Parmon, D-Forsyth, who is vice chairwoman of the Legislative Black Caucus. “The people are coming to protest in spite of the fact that rules were passed to prevent the people from speaking out. I’m glad the people will not be stopped by arbitrary rules. They will let the elected officials know their displeasure of the draconian legislation against poor people for the benefit of the 1 percent of North Carolinians who are wealthy.”
The black and Democratic caucuses said they support the 500,000 North Carolina residents without health care and the 120,000 who have been denied unemployment benefits. The groups also stand with Moral Monday demonstrators in their opposition to election law changes and support for restoring the earned income tax credit.