The Rev. William Barber, the president of the North Carolina NAACP, has received the Martin Luther King Jr. Award from an international peace organization.
Fellowship of Reconciliation announced Thursday that it had given its U.S. peace prize to Barber for his work leading the “Historic Thousands on Jones Street People’s Assembly Coalition,” or HKonJ. The group says the award is meant “to recognize unheralded persons or groups working in the United States in the tradition of Rev. Dr. King.”
The award announcement says Barber “sought justice in North Carolina by fighting a school board attempt to reinstate segregation in Wake County Schools.” Barber led protests and filed civil-rights complaints against the former Republican-led majority on the school board for dropping socioeconomic diversity from the student assignment policy.
Fellowship of Reconciliation also cites Barber’s work against the Republican-led General Assembly.
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“After the 2013 legislative session of the North Carolina state government, where laws that were seen as immoral by the coalition were passed, HKonJ worked under the banner of the Forward Together Moral Movement by organizing ‘Moral Mondays,’” the group says. “Rallies and marches brought out many thousands of activists to peacefully call for justice from the North Carolina legislature through nonviolent direct action. The coalition has protested against North Carolina’s government for infractions to voting rights, reduction of social programs, changes in tax legislation, repeal of the Racial Justice Act, and restrictions on abortion rights.”
The peace group says that Barber’s “grassroots social justice movement” has “now spread to Georgia and South Carolina, capturing global attention.”