By Zoe Boggs
Across the street from the North Carolina State Legislative Building, a diverse crowd sat, stood, held signs, and listened intently. People of all ages, races, religions, and sexual orientations celebrated their differences, but most importantly, their common goals. This was June 20, 2016 and we were at a Moral Monday event, held by the NAACP and allies to protest HB2 and remember the Orlando victims and the Charleston 9 victims. The week before, on June 12 in Orlando, FL, a gunman “carried out the worst mass shooting in United States history, leaving 50 people dead and 53 wounded” at a gay nightclub doing its weekly “Upscale Latin Saturdays” party. Then on Jun 18, nine people were murdered at a historic African-American Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where they were doing bible study.
Clergy from several different religions spoke on the importance of love, emphasizing that violence is backed by a perverted and selective view of religion rather than its true message. The focus of the event was tolerance between various groups: Muslims and LGBTQ+ individuals, immigrants and native-born Americans, and Christians and the trans community. North Carolinian citizens sang, cheered, and held hands as the speakers professed acceptance and peace.
This event served as a reminder that, even in times of tragedy and discord, people can come together in the name of love. Now, the goal must be to align North Carolina’s legislation with these ideals. Even though a large portion of our state supports the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, and other oppressed groups, these minorities will not be truly protected until the law is changed. It was inspiring and heartwarming to see so many people united behind the common cause of tolerance and individual rights. However, nothing will ever happen if those with the same beliefs just talk with each other, repeating the same statements to people who already agree. If the passion and intelligence displayed at Moral Monday are directed outward, as they already have been in so many instances, positive change is almost inevitable.
-Zoe Boggs, a rising High School Junior who lives in Chapel Hill. Zoe is passionate about feminism and justice for women.