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Barber, in a digital appearance, rallies crowd at BRCC

Activists on stage watch the Rev. William Barber II, who spoke via a video connection. Activists on stage watch the Rev. William Barber II, who spoke via a video connection.

The Rev. William Barber urged voters to organize and vote for health care, equal rights and racism, drawing enthusiastic applause. But he did not deliver the remarks in person. A traffic jam on I-40 prevented Barber from making the 6 p.m. “Moral Revival for Voting Rights” at Blue Ridge Community College.

Around 600 people turned out to hear Barber, founder of the Moral Mondays protest against actions of the Republican-controlled North Carolina Legislature and one of the most prominent civil rights leaders in the South. They got to see him in digital form only, his image projected on a large screen, at Thomas Auditorium at BRCC.
“There are more people that want to do right than want to do wrong and we have to believe that,” he said. In the past, when activists stood up for poor people’s rights, “they kept pushing,” he said. “They did not stand down. They stood up.”
He criticized the Legislature for failing to expand Medicaid coverage in the state, a policy decision that would have covered tens of thousands of North Carolinians.
“In Henderson County alone the uninsured rate would have dropped from 13 percent to 9 percent — 4,000 people in Henderson County,” he said.
He said there was a large gap between average wages and the cost of living in Henderson County, where housing prices in particular are high.
“You have to work 91 hours in a week in order to earn the pay” to afford the cost of living in the county, he said.

He urged the crowd to vote no on all six of the state constitutional amendments on the ballot. "They're all bad," he said.
Barber spoke for about 18 minutes before saying good-bye and flicking off the screen.

Norm Bossert, a Democratic candidate for Senate, said he hoped the rally would help turn out votes for his party’s candidates.
“I hope he energizes people,” Bossert said. “If they haven’t voted I hope he gets people out to vote. If they have voted, I hope they volunteer to get people out to vote.”