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Faith Leaders Rally at Capitol Today for Day of Moral Action

The Rev. William Barber at an environmental justice rally. Barber's group is organizing a march on the state Capitol today called the Moral Day of Action. (Repairers of the Breach)
The Rev. William Barber at an environmental justice rally. Barber's group is organizing a march on the state Capitol today called the Moral Day of Action. (Repairers of the Breach)
September 12, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. -- Progressive faith leaders and members of dozens of community groups will march to the Round House Monday and deliver a petition to lawmakers as part of an event called a National Day of Moral Action.

The groups hope to call attention to the human cost of the budget cuts lawmakers will be considering during the upcoming special session to narrow the state budget deficit for 2017 - which is estimated to be from $300 million to $500 million.

The Reverend Holly Beaumont, organizing director at Interfaith Worker Justice New Mexico, said a series of tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations over the past few years have led to this state of affairs.

"Budgets are moral documents,” Beaumont said. "The state budget is the best reflection of what our true values are, and the places they choose to fund, and the places they choose to cut."

The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. at First Christian Church in Santa Fe. The group will march from there to the state Capitol building and hold a rally at 11:00.

The National Day of Moral Action is part of a nationwide movement called Moral Monday, started by the Reverend William J. Barber in North Carolina - where he organized thousands of people to protest against efforts by a conservative billionaire to promote extreme-right candidates for state and local offices.

Barber spoke in 2015 at a conference sponsored by New Mexico Voices for Children and returned in June to train local leaders to carry on the movement. Beaumont said Barber is carrying forward the social justice work of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.

"So what he's doing is helping us to turn this country back to its core values,” Beaumont said; "to eliminate poverty and inequality, to make sure there's health care for everyone, to reclaim in many ways the whole concept of what morality is in this country."

All state lawmakers are up for re-election in 2016. The Moral Revival petition called on all candidates to reject what it calls the divide-and-conquer strategies of the extreme right, to fight racism and promote equal treatment under the law.

The petition can be found at moralrevival.org.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NM