Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Moral Monday Arrestees Speak Out

Over the course of Georgia's 2014 legislative session the American Friends Service Committee has been excited to be able to play a leadership role in launching Georgia's Moral Monday movement. We were all inspired by North Carolina last year and as 2014 approached many had come to believe that the Moral Monday model could be an effective southern strategy.

Since Georgia's 2014 session began there have been a number of Moral Monday Georgia actions at the State Capitol. Over the course of two of those actions over 30 Moral Monday Georgia coalition members participated in very principled nonviolent civil disobedience. 

On Monday February 17th arrestees gathered together to speak out about why they felt moved to put their freedoms on the line. Below is their collective statement along with some video footage:
"We are young, we are old, we are black, we are white, we are gay, we are straight, we are men, and we are women. Many of us are very religious, some are not.  As a group we are not aligned with one political party. We have many differences, we are people who would normally not mix, but there is something that has brought as all together for a cause we believe so deeply in that we have been willing to put our freedoms on the line.

We believe that Georgia has been high jacked by an extreme radical agenda that our state simple can no longer afford. Year after year we see a budget and tax code the benefits a few at a cost to everyone else. We see the standard of living going down for the overwhelming majority for the benefit of those that already have too much. We see the majority of our state’s politicians acting in the interest of big business to the detriment of everyday Georgians.

So we have come together to build a Moral Movement in our state, to remind our elected officials who they are accountable to. We believe our state budget is a Moral document, and that all Georgians should benefit from our state's prosperity, not just the rich. We are in a crisis of economic priority, not one of economic resource; we know there is enough to go around.

So far over 30 of us have been willing to put our freedom and public records on the line to bring attention to this extreme radical agenda.

On January 27th 10 members of the Moral Monday Georgia Coalition refused to leave Govenor Deal’s office until he expanded Medicaid to Georgians, a move that would bring health care to an estimated 600,000+ uninsured Georgians and 70k good paying jobs to our state at no cost initially. Ironically struggling Georgians pay for people all over the country to have these benefits yet we are denied do to our Govenor’s ideological stubbornness.

On Monday February 10th 24 of us held a sit in State Senator Jesse Stone’s  office because he refused to move forward SB280, which would repeal Georgia’s Stand Your Ground law, a law that has a proven track record in making our state less safe, and has come to represent the legalization of modern day lynching.

We have risked our freedom because we believe that everyday Georgians are worth fighting for, we believe our standard of living should be on the rise, not decline, we believe there’s enough to go around, we believe that the least of these is worth fighting for, we believe that a Georgia that prioritizes education, health care, women's rights, LGBT rights, good jobs with fair wages, fair housing practices,racial justice, and environmental justice is possible and worth fighting for."

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