Yesterday the call went out to clergy and lay leaders for a telephone gathering to discuss the U.S. presidential orders issued during the first week of the new administration, which I notice lately some are calling a “regime.” These orders are efforts to undermine voting rights, encourage racism and sexism, and to punish sanctuary cities.The concern is that if we don’t respond immediately to these threats, they will become the new normal.
The Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP and author of The Third Reconstruction, Catherine Orsborn of Shoulder to Shoulder, Standing with American Muslims: Upholding American Values and Valerie Kaur presented. Valerie is an award-winning filmmaker, civil rights lawyer, media commentator, Sikh activist and interfaith leader who uses storytelling much as we use poetry – for social change.
The emphasis of the discussion was:
- the upholding of American ideals, and
- rapid response.
The combination of noise on the line and my hearing made it difficult for me to track the entire conversation, but as best I could determine among the encouraged actions were:
- Frequent phone calls to members of Congress. Numbers for the members of the House of Representatives are HERE. Numbers for the Senate members are HERE.
- Exercise resistance in our own spheres. Use social media and take part in local resistance efforts.
Rev. Barber said this is a historic moment but not a new moment in terms of extremism and hate and not the worst moment.
“In the great stream of injustice down through the ages, this is not the worst thing we have suffered. To say so is to dishonor those whose lives were dishonored in holocausts, lynchings and Jim Crow [and other human abuses].”
Nonviolent civil disobedience is encouraged. Rev. Barber advises self-purification, prayer, and fasting to prepare for moral resistance, for nonviolent direct action against immoral public policy agenda at the state and federal levels. Suggestions for these processes are to be found at Repairers of the Breach.
“Now is not a time to wait and see. Now is a time for action.”
Here is a video in which Rev. Barber gives us some background on the Third Reconstruction and its place in history. It’s worth your time. (if you are reading this via an email subscription you will have to link through to the site to view the video)
- The Third Reconstruction: The Era of Social and Economic Justice
- GROUNDSWELL: We Support Civil Disobedience
- Rapid Response Guide for People of Faith and Moral Conscience
The photograph of Rev. Barber and the description below it are from his Amazon page.
The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II is this week’s recommended read. If you plan to purchase this book and use the link here it will help to support this site.