Thousands of people tramped across a muddy Halifax Mall Monday to take part in the ninth Moral Monday protest.
“Seventy-thousand,” the Rev. William Barber shouted. Attendees echoed his words. He shouted the number again and again, focusing in on the significance of Monday, July 1: The date the cuts to the state’s unemployment benefits went into effect.
“Can you hear the cries of the children whose parents cannot afford to pay their mortgages?” asked one speaker at the event, Javan Richardson of Rocky Mount, a rising ninth grader at Nash Community Early College. He came to Raleigh for his first protest Monday.
“I’m a youth, and there are a lot of things going on that could affect our education,” he said after his speech.
The rain held off for most of the evening – but some protesters came prepared. One had written across her umbrella: “Stop hurting people.”
About 80 protesters have volunteered to be arrested, sporting green armbands as in previous weeks. One police officer speculated that less people had showed up than usual. The event organizers had not yet taken an official attendee count at the time of publication.
—Annalise Frank, staff writer