Happening Now: Thousands Protesting at State Capitols Across Nation

By Kenrya Rankin Sep 12, 2016

The fight for civil and human rights is moving to state capitols today (September 12), as workers and community leaders descend on the seats of power in 30 states. The coordinated protests are part of the Higher Ground Moral Day of Action, co-lead by Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes and Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, the North Carolina Conference of the NAACP and Repairers of the Breach president who memorably moved the crowd at this summer’s Democratic National Convention.

Protesters are set to gather in Washington, D.C., and the following 30 capitol cities at 11 a.m. local time: Montgomery, Ala.; Little Rock, Ark.; Sacramento, Calif; Denver, Colo.; Hartford, Conn.; Dover, Del.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Atlanta, Ga.; Springfield, Ill.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Frankfort, Ky.; Baton Rouge, La.; Annapolis, Md.; Boston, Mass.; Lansing, Mich.; Saint Paul, Minn.; Jackson, Miss.; Jefferson City, Mo.; Concord, N.H.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Raleigh, N.C.; Carson City, Nev.; Albany, N.Y., Columbus, Ohio; Harrisburg, Pa.; Columbia, S.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; Austin, Texas; Richmond, Va. and Madison, Wis.

At each of the rallies, participants will read and then deliver the “Moral Declaration,” a petition that is described on the initiative’s website as a call to action for legislators and governors to follow a moral agenda rooted in both faith in God and the U.S. Constitution. The leaders also hope to encourage voters to elect candidates that support social justice. The protests will center issues of racial justice, economic justice, universal healthcare, criminal justice reform and equal protection under the law.

The declaration, which was signed by 12,034 people at press time, reads:

We declare that the deepest public concerns of our nation and faith traditions are how our society treats the poor, those on the margins, the least of these, women, children, workers, immigrants and the sick; equality and representation under the law; and the desire for peace, love and harmony within and among nations.

Together, we lift up and defend the most sacred moral principles of our faith and constitutional values, which are: the economic liberation of all people, ensuring every child receives access to quality education, healthcare access for all, criminal justice reform and ensuring historically marginalized communities have equal protection under the law.

Our moral traditions have a firm foundation upon which to stand against the divide-and-conquer strategies of extremists. We believe in a moral agenda that stands against systemic racism, classism, poverty, xenophobia and any attempt to promote hate towards any members of the human family.

We claim a higher ground in partisan debate by returning public discourse to our deepest moral and constitutional values.


“The Higher Ground Moral Day of Action is about challenging the theological malpractice of the so­-called religious right that attempts to limit the moral discussion in the public square,” Barber said in a statement. “We are calling on clerics, people who have been impacted by extremism and people of moral conscience to join delegations across the country to engage and challenge candidates and officeholders on the moral issues of our time.”

The declaration was previously delivered to officials at the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention during a revival tour where faith leaders put forth a social justice agenda in 20 states.