Dear NC NAACP & Forward Together Moral Movement family,
I write with gratitude for each of you who have entrusted me to serve in leadership and with appreciation for the broad coalition of black, white, and brown; Christian, Muslim, Jewish and those who believe in a moral arc of the universe; young and old; gay and straight; Republican, Democrat, and unaffiliated who have joined our work over the past 12 years.
I am writing to let you know that I am stepping down from leadership of the NC NAACP in order to accept an invitation from moral leaders across the nation to serve and help lead a new Poor People’s Campaign & National Call for A Moral Revival. I feel this is a deeply spiritual call in this moment, so I’m stepping down but not stepping away from our work together in this movement.
When I first ran for State Conference President on the platform of moving “From Banquets to Battle,” my family, church and I committed to this work. In our first eight years together we were able to build a people’s coalition with strength to push reluctant Democrats to raise the minimum wage, win same day registration and voting, push back against re-segregation of schools in one of our largest districts, and free innocent black men from prison.
As a result of the work we were able to do together in that time, a foundation was laid for “Moral Mondays,” which emerged in the spring of 2013. Through sustained moral fusion organizing, with a race and class critique rooted in our deepest moral values, we pushed back against extremism for four long years to see the defeat of an extremist Republican governor, the election of more progressive members to the state Supreme Court, and the overturning of the monster voter suppression law that targeted African-Americans, according to a federal court, “with almost surgical precision.”
Our work is not over here in North Carolina. But, as you know, extremism is at work in other states and has gained power in all three branches of our federal government, much as it did here four years ago. This moment requires us to push into the national consciousness a deep moral analysis that is rooted in an agenda to combat systemic racism, poverty, war mongering, economic injustice, voter suppression, and other attacks on the most vulnerable.
This is why in this moment I am entrusting the NC NAACP to other strong leaders who can continue its work; I am not stepping away from the NAACP or from you, my NC NAACP Moral Movement family. I will continue to pastor Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, to support the NAACP’s work here in North Carolina and to serve on the national board of the NAACP. As we expand our moral fusion coalition model to over 20 other states as well as the nation’s Capitol, I am committed, as ever, to moving forward together, not one step back.
I invite you to stay connected with this NC NAACP Moral Movement in five specific ways:
1) As individuals and as members of coalition partners, please continue to build up the Forward Together Moral Movement promote membership in the NC NAACP, strengthen local organizing in your community, our annual People’s Lobby Day and our annual Moral March and HKonJ People’s Assembly, the second Saturday on February.
2) Attend in person or by livestream our news conference on Monday, May 15 at 10am, at Davie Street Presbyterian Church, where I will lay out next steps.
3) Join us on Tuesday, May 23rd at 6pm on Bicentennial Mall in Raleigh for “Health Care is a Human Right and Moral Demand.”
4) Visit www.breachrepairers.org and learn more about how you can be involved in the Poor People Campaign’s National Call for a Moral Revival.
5) Please join me, my brother, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and others each month for “The Gathering: A Time for Reflection, Revival and Resistance.” Our first gathering is scheduled for June 4th. More details will soon be available here.
“WE” is the most important word in our justice vocabulary. I’m grateful to be part of that “WE” with you, and I look forward to continuing building our “WE” toward a moral movement that can revive the heart of our democracy.
Forward Together Not One Step Back!
Yours in Love & Justice,
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II