What you need to know to organize a Moral Monday and build a lasting movement in your community.
Forward Together Movement Background
Moral Monday has its roots in the NAACP-led coalition of nearly 200 organizations that organized and mobilized Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) over the last seven years. The tradition and values of HKonJ are the same as those of Moral Mondays and the Forward Together, Not One Step Back Movement.
The first Moral Monday was on April 29. Justice-loving people from across the state gathered at the capitol to express their concern about the announced political agenda of the new majority in the General Assembly and the Governor. The legislators’ and Governor’s extreme and immoral agenda was a declaration of war on the people of North Carolina – – women, minorities, children, and the elderly. No one was exempt. On that day seventeen people peacefully took their protest to the People’s House – the General Assembly – to petition their legislators to reconsider their agenda and exercise their duty to uphold the NC Constitution and work for the common good of all North Carolina residents. Since then on subsequent Mondays, nearly 1,000 North Carolina residents have been arrested while exercising their constitutional right to petition their government.
Moral Mondays have been successful. Moral Mondays have turned a moment of concern, fear, and uncertainty into the Forward Together, Not One Step Back Movement for change that has drawn tens of thousands of North Carolinians in this righteous struggle to voice their dissatisfaction with the actions of the legislators who, have cut unemployment benefits for 170,000 people without work, deprived a half a million people of health care, decimated public schools, endangered the environment, and threatened voting rights. Tens of thousands of people are now committed to continuing work with the NC NAACP, building and maintaining local coalitions, registering new voters, building local HKonJ People’s Assemblies and mobilizing for a massive HKonJ on February 8, 2014. They are committed to making their voices heard.
Taking Moral Monday Home
Moral Mondays ended at the General Assembly once the legislative session was over. Participants vowed to continue to raise their voices against the unconstitutional and immoral laws passed in the General Assembly. Since then, over 20 communities across the state have hosted local Moral Mondays with help and support from the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP.
Not just another Rally
Moral Mondays are more than rallies. They are effective and powerful vehicles for change. They must be planned with care. These rallies are rooted in the values of nonviolence, love, and concern for humankind and built in the keeping with values and principles of traditional social justice movements. It is because of this that Moral Mondays and the Forward Together, Not One Step Back Movement have been and continue to be effective.
Many more communities want to host Moral Mondays. The NC State Conference of the NAACP is producing this tool kit to help communities host Moral Mondays and build them in a way that is positive, builds coalitions, mobilizes communities and creates change. PLEASE contact the NC NAACP at ForwardTogether@naacpnc.org or at 919-682-4700.
Planning Guide for Moral Mondays – Tool Kit
This tool kit provides concrete suggestions, resources and materials to make Moral Mondays powerful vehicles to support our growing movement for change across North Carolina.
Contact the NC State Conference of the NAACP at ForwardTogether@naacpnc.org or at 919-682-4700 for assistance and support.
This tool kit is not just a blueprint for actions. It is a guide for organizing in ways that touch the hearts and minds of all who are open to reason. Moral Mondays have taken the high ground, been peaceful, and consistently focused on policy not people. While this guide gives a nuts and bolts blueprint, Tool Kit users are reminded that the success of Moral Mondays and the Forward Together, Not One Step Back Movement has been closely bound to these social justice values.
We would also like keep a record of all Moral Monday and Forward Together actions.
Is Your Community Ready for Moral Monday?
Yes, if there is a core group of people in your community committed to social justice, willing and ready to work and plan a Moral Monday Rally and committed to continuing to work together after the Moral Monday Rally is over.
Build a Coalition
Bring together a diverse social justice coalition – faith, civil rights, labor – committed to planning and implementing Moral Monday and also committed to be involved in the coalition after the rally. Be sure your local NAACP Branch is included. Reach into all parts of the community to ensure inclusion and diversity by gender, race/ethnicity, religious denominations, and age. They will be needed to do voter registration, build a local HKonJ People’s Assembly, mobilize for the HKonJ Mass People’s Assembly in February, and to sustain this movement for the long term. Almost 1,000 people across North Carolina have done civil disobedience; make sure those in your community are invited to be part of the coalition. WOW there is a lot to be done! Lots of people will be needed.
Decide on a meeting date and place and invite people. Build it and they will come!
Making a Plan
At the first meeting, make sure everyone understands the history and values – nonviolence, love, equality, fairness, and justice – of Moral Mondays. Also discuss future work that needs to be done to make social change, i.e., voter registration, mobilizing for HKonJ. Identify all tasks necessary to host a successful Rally and make sure all tasks are assigned. Establish timelines for completing tasks and assignments. Be sure to have a system for follow-up.
Follow-up will be critical. At subsequent meetings, follow-up on assignments, and determine new tasks. Continue to bring new people into the process. Make sure you take contact information of those attending each meeting so you can assure that they stay involved.
- Set a realistic date for the Moral Monday Rally. Three weeks away is usually enough time.
- Secure a venue (if outside, identify alternate venue in case of rain)
- Obtain Permits
- Do NOT Schedule/Plan Civil Disobedience
- Outreach and Mobilization
- Getting the message out is critical to hosting a successful event. Use every possible way you know:
- Contact NC NAACP – Make sure the NC NAACP knows about the Moral Monday rally and planning. We will send information about your local Moral Monday Rally through the HKonJ Coalition and Forward Together Movement network.
- Flyers – place flyers announcing the rally in places where people gather – recreation centers, barber and beauty shops, bus stops, workplace lunch rooms, etc. (See flyer example – Appendix 1)
- Press – reaching out to the press outlets in your community will be important to getting the word out as well as for getting coverage for the rally. Make a list of all local media and appoint one person to be the media contact. Hold a press conference before the Rally. (Model press advisory and press release – Appendix 2 and Appendix 3).
- Places of Worship – reach out to a wide variety of places of worship. Ask the faith leaders to announce the event at services and place announcements in bulletins. Also ask faith leaders to join the coalition.
- Social Media – use Facebook, twitter, and other methods to let people know that Moral Monday is coming to your community. If no one in your coalition uses social media, your coalition may not be inclusive enough. Where are the young people?
- Community Groups and Organizations – reach out to all groups – civil rights, faith, labor, LGBTQ, environmental and others for assistance and long-term partnership.
- Keep it Non-Partisan – The Forward Together Movement is non-partisan. No political party can sponsor a Moral Monday Rally. However, we encourage members of political parties to help organize as individuals.
- Flyers – announcing Moral Monday
- Pledge Cards – to be distributed at the Moral Monday Rally asking people to pledge to become involved in voter registration and other activities. (Pledge Cards are available at the NC NAACP)
- Legislative Report Cards – information about laws passed by the General Assembly and the votes of each of the NC legislators, for distribution at the rally. (Report cards can be obtained at the NC NAACP.)
- Security is important at Moral Monday Rallies. Having good Marshals at the rally are essential. Their job includes securing the stage area, crowd control, and keeping an eye out for suspicious activity. There needs to be a security point person to make decisions.
- Rally organizers are responsible for all local Moral Monday Rally expenses. Other organizers have successfully raised money from organizations and individuals in their communities to support local Rallies, prior to the rallies. Money should not be raised at the Moral Monday Rally to cover expenses.
The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP will provide staff support where possible.
Moral Monday Program
The rally program should be focused, positive, uplifting, honest, and mercifully short!
The focus of Moral Monday rallies is policy not people. Signs and speeches at Moral Monday programs should reflect the issues and focus on laws passed in the General Assembly and embrace the spirit and values of Moral Monday. Organize around these principles. It keeps the message clear and focused. It also ensures that Moral Mondays continue to take the moral high ground. All signs that do not comply should be removed. All speeches should be vetted.
Voter Registration and distributing/collecting pledge cards are essential elements of the Moral Monday Rally. This is about building a movement! It is important to get people registered to vote and important to get contact information of those who want to be actively involved beyond Moral Monday.
Remember, Moral Mondays are non-partisan. Elected officials should not dominate the program. If you choose to include an elected official as a speaker (we do not encourage more than one), they should not discuss their political party. Remind all speakers to maintain a framework of what is right versus wrong and what is constitutional versus extreme, not what is Republican versus Democrat.
Document the Rally. Find an official photographer and videographer. After the Rally, send the video to the NC NAACP so that we can create a YouTube video of the event. If possible live stream the Rally, so that people around the world can watch it.
The Forward Together Movement strives to be diverse and inclusive. Be considerate of language accessibility in your community. If there are large non-English speaking populations, consider locating translation equipment and an interpreter so that the speeches can be understood by everyone at the Rally.
Moral Monday Rally Check List
- Select date
- Secure location
- Set a goal for attendance
- Obtain permits (if necessary)
- Draft and distribute Press Advisory/Press Release
- Secure high quality sound system and sound technician
- Contact the local news media
- Plan Moral Monday Rally Program
- Identify and contact Rally Master of Ceremony and all speakers
- Provide program and speech content guidelines (rather than information, I thought it could be read as write the speech for them) to all speakers and the Master of Ceremony
- Review Rally speeches – content and time
- Invite and involve Moral Monday Arrestees in your community
- Identify and secure volunteers for the following critical roles:
- Stage manager
- Timekeeper – program
- Voter registration volunteers
- Marshal and Security duty
- Pledge Card and information distribution
- Set-up/Clean-up committees
- Medical providers
- Social media volunteer
- Data entry volunteer(s) (post rally)
- Make seating arrangements for people with disabilities and the elderly
- Do Outreach/mobilization – attendance
- Hold a Press Conference
Post Rally: What’s Next?
Declare your event a success! Build off the Success!
Call the NC NAACP immediately after the Rally to share your story about the success. The NC NAACP can help you get the word out across the state about your victory. The NC NAACP can also help with next steps.
After the rally call a meeting of the Rally coalition. Invite staff from the NC NAACP to attend the meeting. At this meeting, CELEBRATE! Then you can get down to the business of next steps – evaluate the rally, review your goals. Preserve contact information gathered at the Rally. Have your data entry volunteer make an excel spread with contact information of those who volunteered to continue to work for change through voter registration, community awareness building, and HKonJ. Please send a copy of collected information to the North Carolina NAACP.
Now the fun begins. Remember this was not just about hosting a Moral Monday Rally. Your hard work, planning and carrying out the Rally was about shedding a light on the unconstitutional and immoral laws and actions of the North Carolina General Assembly AND reversing those laws and actions. There is more to do:
Across the state, the NC NAACP and the Forward Together, Not One Step Back Movement has initiated a massive voter registration and education project. Your local coalition can become part of this effort to register thousands of new voters and engage and energize infrequent voters.
There is also the ongoing work of Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) to continue to raise the awareness about the need for a legislative agenda that serves the majority – women, people of color, workers, the poor, the LGBTQ community, children and the elderly. Local coalitions are encouraged to form HKonJ People’s Assemblies that works to get rid of these outrageous laws passed by extremists in our state legislature and to mobilize for the 8th annual HKonJ march and rally on February 8, 2014.
We can work together to change North Carolina. Contact the NC State Conference of the NAACP at ForwardTogether@naacpnc.org or at 919-682-4700 for assistance and support.
Forward Together, Not One Step Back!