Madison labor and religious leaders bring North Carolina’s ‘Moral Monday’ movement to Wisconsin

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II to speak here March 13 on the importance of building ties between civil rights and labor struggles

MADISON—Building on the energy and alliances of the massive labor protests that captured national attention here three years ago area labor and religious leaders have recruited the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II to share the experience of North Carolina’s “Moral Monday” movement with the people of Wisconsin.

“Rev. Barber is a leader in a growing movement that encompasses a variety of goals, but the glue that holds it all together is economic and social justice,” said Patrick Barrett of the Labor & Working Class Studies Project (LWCSP), the group leading the effort to bring Barber to Madison. “As in North Carolina, the key to moving forward in Wisconsin is building ties between the civil rights, poor peoples and labor movements.”

Citing high unemployment and incarceration rates, voter suppression, union busting, and other dire conditions confronting the state’s working-class, Wisconsin NAACP First Vice President Wendell Harris noted, “The parallels between North Carolina and Wisconsin are undeniable. We welcome Rev. Barber—one of the greatest civil rights leaders of our time—with great enthusiasm!”

Barber will deliver his address, “The People’s Moral Agenda: Anti-Racism, Anti-Poverty, Pro-Labor,” on Thursday, March 13, at 7 pm at Bethel Lutheran Church, 312 Wisconsin Avenue in Madison. Admission is free and open to the public.

Gospel song powerhouse Yara Allen, who has led singing protests with fast food workers and unions, will offer a “call and response” sing along after Barber’s comments.

Barber is President of the North Carolina NAACP and co-founder and leader of the Moral Monday movement, a multiracial, multi-issue social justice movement that has mobilized thousands of North Carolinians in mass protests. He has helped lead the fight for voter rights, health care reform, labor and worker rights, immigration rights, education equality, and more.

Barber’s visit and speaking engagement are sponsored by: South Central Federation of Labor – Teaching Assistants Association Executive Board – Wisconsin NAACP – Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice – Student Labor Action Coalition – Fountain of Life Church – Center on Wisconsin Strategy – American Federation of Teachers Wisconsin – Havens Center for the Study of Social Justice – Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons – Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice – Madison Urban Ministry – Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures – Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development.

For more information, contact Patrick Barrett at

The Labor & Working Class Studies Project (LWCSP) is a collaborative campus-labor-community initiative to connect the campus and the community in dialogue on issues related to labor and working class people. The LWCSP is a member of the Working Class Studies Association.