There we were, five UUs from the Unitarian Universalist Church in Washington Crossing, standing among 1,500 other UUs from all over the nation, ready to march in Raleigh NC on Feb. 8 along with 85,000 others who showed up to support justice and democracy.
Judith MacLaury, Connie Rafle, Peter Rafle, and Mike Wilson had traveled to NC along with me to represent UUCWC, New Jersey, and Unitarian Universalism at the “Moral March,” the largest civil rights march in the South since the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery.
We found in North Carolina a profoundly moving story of struggle, hope, and inspiration. Rev. Dr. William Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP, began in 2006 to shape a “fusion coalition” of diverse groups that would speak with one voice to the North Carolina legislature. The message: stand on the side of love. The method: democracy. As Barber said at Saturday’s march, “Justice is what love looks like in public.”
We UUs embrace as a foundational principle the inherent worth of every human person. Whatever our individual theological beliefs, we unite around that basic principle. It means we celebrate diversity, encourage one another’s lifelong personal growth, and work to create conditions that allow every human being to live in dignity and freedom.
The inherent worth of every person is the idea at the center of the fusion coalition. It’s the principle behind “one person one vote.” It’s why groups supporting causes like universal health care, marriage equality, reproductive rights, environmental justice, worker’s rights, educational funding, and food stamps have joined together in the Moral March movement. It’s why the Moral March is moral.
Weaving together biblical tradition and the US Constitution, Rev. Barber invited people everywhere to set aside petty differences and unite around human well-being as the touchstone for government policy and legislative change. He called us to “higher ground.” We’re heeding that call.
Watch Rev. Barber’s “Higher Ground” speech on YouTube (he starts at 0:39:24).