- Imam Mohamed AbuTaleb, Islamic Association of Raleigh
- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, NCNAACP
- Rev. Dr. Nancy Petty, Pastor, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church
- Rev. Marion Robinson, AME
- Rabbi Eric Solomon, Beth Meyer Synagogue
DP: What more needs to be done to protect underrepresented groups like people of color, the LGBT community and those in poverty?
RB: We need what I call a Third Reconstruction. A revolution of values that understands the intersectionality between all issues, whether it be educational equality, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, health care — they all intersect. And we need a recovery of a debate in this country that’s not about left and right, but about what’s right. That says, you know, our Constitution only mandates a democracy that establishes justice. So if marginalized communities are not experiencing justice, that’s un-American. So anything that claims to be faith but then stands on the side of that which is against poor people that are marginalized is hypocrisy. I’m saying, in North Carolina and across the South, we have to have a fresh moral movement. Just like the Reconstruction of the 1800s, the Reconstruction of the Civil Rights Movement: we see a reconstruction movement born today.
DP: What would you say to young people today who want to be activists but aren’t sure how to get started?
RB: Well, there are so many ways. There’s Raise Up For $15, the Moral Mondays Movement, the fight for voting rights, what’s happening on campuses — I say if you want to be an activist, be an activist. Get involved. Find a place to expend your energy. And particularly on college campuses, you know, activism is as much of a part of your education as going to class. Because any education that does not teach you to have a conscience and a concern and an ability to stand up for what’s right is actually a miseducation. But I also say to students — don’t dismiss your studies. Because even your studies prepare you for conscientious activism. You don’t have to choose academics over activism — in fact, we need academic activists. We need activists informed on academics. Because I often say, the worst thing you want to be is loud and wrong. .. So get involved, make it a lifelong commitment, engage with other people, build allies, find a place in your deepest moral center that motivates you to do what you do, and never stop caring for other people.