Video of the speech Rev. Dr. William Barber delivered in Madison, Wisconsin March 13, 2014:
I have collected photos and videos in this post of what we experienced in Madison when Rev. Dr. Barber and Yara Allen visited us. Wisconsinites very likely came to this blog looking for Madison-centric stuff.
However I would beg the reader to take a moment to absorb some context that is beyond Madison so as to understand the arduous journey Rev. Barber has been on in just this past week.
March 7th marks the 49th anniversary of the beginning of the Selma to Montgomery march which began with “Bloody Sunday“, a protest march of 525-600 people across the Edmund Pettus bridge. Those courageous people were met by violent police and hastily deputized white men on the other side who beat them.
On this side of history, on March 12, 2014, Freedom Riders for Voting Rights and the Caravan for Democracy held rallies in
to mark the 49th anniversary of the march to Montgomery and to also kick that struggle back into a new high gear. As a response to the degradation of the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court, this campaign aims to educate and register new voters across the United States and ultimately add one million voters to the electorate by March 15, 2015.
Here is a 1-hour-long video from the Raleigh, NC rally which features Rev. Barber.:
From the Saving OurSelves (S.O.S.) web site:
“The 49th Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee in March 2014 commemorates “Bloody Sunday” in Selma and will kick-off a yearlong voter registration and awareness campaign, “50 Cities/ 50 Cars/ 50 Voters At A Time.” The campaign will educate citizens about the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act, effectively allowing certain states and voting districts under federal supervision to change their election laws without advance federal approval. The campaign goal is to successfully register at least one million new voters by the 50th Anniversary of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee in March 2015 and of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.”
The campaign caravan concluded its journey in Washington D.C. with a rally to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to weaken the voting rights act.
Thus it was AFTER all those rallies and that journey that Rev. Barber arrived in Madison, Wisconsin.
He had to be exhausted.
In the morning Rev. Barber met with a local set of people to discuss organizing (a limited number of people were privy to that). He also spoke to the press including the Devil’s Advocate radio show. Devil’s Advocate recorded a 3 minute video interview with Rev. Barber that focuses on suppression of voting access state by state. You can find that here.
At noon he and historian, singer, and organizer Yara Allen joined the Solidarity Sing Along.
Here’s a short, uplifting video which I know I’ll be returning to more than a couple times this coming year: Rev. Barber leading people in singing “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” on the square.
And here’s a mere 27 seconds of Yara Allen leading in the song, “Hold on”.
As 7PM neared, Overpass Light Brigade letters were held by volunteers in greeting outside of the Bethel Lutheran Church on Wisconsin Avenue.
The volunteers then entered the Bethel Lutheran Church singing “Forward Together”, a song written by Mary Ray Worley and perfected with the help of a troupe of regular Wednesday night singers called “Madison Song Circle” (Oh, how this town is occupied by political song).
Photo credit: Light Brigading, creative commons license
The massive church was absolutely packed.
Photo credit: Light Brigading, creative commons license
I was particularly taken with a portion of Rev. William Barber’s speech in which he explains why it is that he and other faith leaders in North Carolina came to ally with the LGBT community.
Below you will see a transcript for this portion and a video of that segment. (Apologies for crummy punctuation in the transcript. I’ll get to fixing that when this post is done.)
What extremists do – and notice I didn’t say “Democrat” or “Republican” – I said “extremist”.
What extremists do is they try to make us fight separately. They attack us separately and make us fight separately.
What me must understand is that extremist politics hurts us all.
I’ll never forget – in the middle of a LGBT fight in North Carolina – a reverend asked, “Well, why are you involved as a black preacher? Why were you involved with LGBT?” Well I said, “First of all this isn’t a war between the black church and LGBT. That’s a false notion. That’s the notion that the religious right tried to understand. If anybody understands race in america it’s the Black Church.”
Second of all I said to them, “Because the 14th amendment was passed to provide equal protection under the law for every citizen…
And because black people know the original sin of america which was racism and because black people know that once that sin was committed it took 250 years of travesty – of chattel slavery.
100 years of Jim Crow.
Martyrs and people being killed that we STILL haven’t gotten over.
We ought to be the last ones that want to see anybody codify hate into our constitution
And they, “Said that’s not the same thing as racial discrimination.” And I said, “I know that. But it’s discrimination.”
And because I’ve been touched by america’s original sin
of racial discrimination then i have to stand opposed to all the forms of it.”
And using that argument we were able to get allies who were theologically – and in their own churches – based on the first amendment – the right from and for religion – they were not totally for same sex marriage but they stood with us against Amendment One on the moral and constitutional principle that even if I have not come to that point inside of my church sanctuary I have to be against anything that codifies hate and discrimination within the laws of this land.
And now for more photos and some spirited post-speech singing video.
It was hard for him to leave.
I actually have more video to get up to the web! And surely more video will emerge over the weekend as videographers get the time to render their files and upload.
For a summarizing article on Rev. Barber’s speech, try Reverend Barber brings Moral Mondays to Madison by Glenn Schmidt, Union Labor News
Alabama – see the S.O.S. site