Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"A living wage is a human right," protesters declare as they prepare to march on the capital in Richmond, Virginia as part of a national day of action. (Photo: Raise Up for $15/Twitter)

"A living wage is a human right," protesters declare as they prepare to march on the capital in Richmond, Virginia as part of a national day of action. (Photo: Raise Up for $15/Twitter)

Nationwide, Workers Join Clergy to Demand Lawmakers Advance Politics of Morality

Clergy join with low wage workers to call for $15 minimum wage and declare firm opposition to 'systemic racism, classism, poverty, xenophobia, and any attempt to promote hate towards any members of the human family.'

Lauren McCauley

Demanding that elected officials and candidates for office embrace morally just policies that include living wages, health care for all, racial justice, and union rights, thousands of workers led by clergy are holding protests at 27 state capitals and Washington, D.C. on Monday.

Dubbed the Higher Ground Moral Day of Action, the demonstrations are being spearheaded by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP and architect of the Moral Mondays movement, and accompanied by activists with the national Fight for $15 movement.

At the rallies, which began at 11am EDT, workers, clergy, and community leaders will read and deliver a public policy framework entitled the Moral Declaration, signed by more than 10,000 people and 2,500 faith leaders, to their respective governors, U.S. senators, and candidates for office.

The declaration calls for "a radical revolution of values," in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and disputes the prevailing notions of morality in politics.

"We challenge the position that the preeminent moral issues today are about prayer in public schools, abortion, and homosexuality," it states. "Instead, we declare the deepest public concerns of our faith traditions are how our society treats the poor, those on the margins, the least of these, women, children, workers, immigrants and the sick; equality and representation under the law; and the desire for peace, love and harmony within and among nations."

The declaration echoes the rousing address Barber gave at the Democratic National Convention in July, during which he called on Democrats to "shock this nation" as the "moral defibrillators of our time."

The agenda serves as a foil to the vitriol, and what it describes as the "divide-and-conquer strategies," being put forth by "extremist" lawmakers. It seeks to "retur[n] public discourse to our deepest moral and constitutional values," by standing firmly "against systemic racism, classism, poverty, xenophobia, and any attempt to promote hate towards any members of the human family."

As such, the moral platform includes: criminal justice reform, expanded voting rights, "equality in education," healthcare for all, "fair policies for immigrants," "critiquing policies around warmongering," a "just transition away from fossil fuels," and "pro-labor, anti-poverty, anti-racist policies that build up economic democracy through employment, living wages, the alleviation of disparate unemployment."

The movement is also calling on voters to support politicians "who have the highest capacity to advance moral public policy agendas."

The day of action is being dedicated to former Missouri McDonald’s worker Myrna De Los Santos, who died on Aug. 27 at the age of 49 due to complications from diabetes. According to Fight for $15, her condition went untreated because her $8 per hour wage did not cover basic health care and she was prevented from receiving Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act because Republican lawmakers blocked expansion in her state.

Demonstrations are being held from coast to coast, at state capitals including: Montgomery, Ala.; Little Rock, Ark.; Sacramento, Calif.; Denver; Hartford, Conn.; Washington, D.C.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Atlanta; Springfield, Ill.; Indianapolis; Frankfort, Ky.; Baton Rouge, La.; Boston; Saint Paul, Minn.; Jackson, Miss.; Jefferson City, Mo.; Concord, N.H.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Raleigh, N.C.; Carson City, Nev.; Albany, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; Harrisburg, Pa.; Columbia, S.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; Austin, Texas; Richmond, Va.; and Madison, Wis..

Updates are being shared online with the hashtag #MoralDayofAction.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

US Urged to End Drone Strikes After Pentagon Says Killing 10 Afghan Civilians Was 'Horrible Mistake'

"That was not a 'mistake,'" said journalist Anand Giridharadas. "War crimes are not oopsies."

Brett Wilkins ·


40+ NYC Activists Arrested for Protests Against Banks Fueling Climate Emergency

"We're sending a message loud and clear that the little action that politicians and greenwashing CEOs have taken so far does not begin to deal with the magnitude of this crisis."

Jessica Corbett ·


FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Booster Shots for People 65+ and Especially Vulnerable

The scientific advisory committee voted down a recommendation for other adults.

Common Dreams staff ·


'What Betrayal Looks Like': UN Report Says World on Track for 2.7°C of Warming by 2100

"Whatever our so-called 'leaders' are doing," said Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, "they are doing it wrong."

Jake Johnson ·


Critics Warn Biden That 30% Methane Reduction by 2030 Not Good Enough

Following the new U.S.-E.U. pledge, climate campaigners called for an urgent end to fossil fuel extraction and major reforms of agricultural practices.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo