September 30, 2016
Word: The hidden coalition
Rev William Barber, Moral Mondays - Right now in this country, the real battle is over the South, because the extremists who want to take us backwards, they still play their dog-whistle politics in the South. What Moral Mondays and these other movements are doing—look at the number of white people that march with Black Lives Matter, look at the diversity of the crowds at Moral Mondays, people coming together to recognize their common identity, their common reality and recognize that, as Dr. King told us in the ‘60s, if black people and white working people and Latinos came together, they could be a transformative coalition.
In the South right now, if you register 30 percent of African-Americans in the 11 former Confederate states and they connect with progressive whites and Latinos, it’s a new [electoral] map. If it’s a new map, it’s a new America. If it’s a new America in terms of who sits in the Senate, the House of Representatives, the governor’s mansions, and the legislatures, then you have new public policy.
The last thing about this movement is it’s bottom up; it’s not top down. You’re not going to get rescued by some national leader coming in and saving you. We nationalize state movements because it’s the state legislatures that are blocking health care across the South, trying to roll back voting rights. They’re they ones who won’t allow a referendum on living wages—if you put that on the ballot in North Carolina or any of the Southern states, it would win, and they know that.
We’re challenging the consciousness in these Southern states, bringing people together. When you have a moral consciousness change, you have a moral political change, you’ll have a moral demographic change in the voting booth, and that can be fundamental in helping America move to what I believe we’re in the adolescent stages of, which is a third Reconstruction.