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Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

We are writing this simple, straightforward note after watching the last Presidential debate and reading again the numbers of people who didn’t have to die or fall into poverty this year. We are writing together because the frankness of our friendship compels us to speak up for people we love and to challenge the forces that try to divide us.

We are two sons of the South, raced differently by an unjust system of laws and customs that were not built to serve either of our families. When we witness the divide-and-conquer politics that Trump has embraced, we think about William’s father, who served the cause of justice in the Jim Crow South and, in the 1940s, was drafted into the Navy and gave first class service for a nation that still made him sit behind German prisoners of war when he came home. We think about his mother, still living, who helped desegregate a school system and suffered there, but was able to endure for more than 50 years. We also think about Jonathan’s white family that has been told for years that their values should compel them to vote for leaders who demonize Black and brown neighbors and support policies that make all of us poorer, sicker, and less secure. We think about how we live in a state where neither of us would have received a free public education if Black and white people had not joined together after the civil war and elected people who made it a constitutional guarantee for all North Carolinians. …


Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Jonathan is a preacher, author, and moral activist.

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