CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- By rush hour Monday, Mecklenburg County's NAACP branch hopes thousands of people crowd Marshall Park to protest laws passed during North Carolina's last legislative session, which just ended.
The group is moving its Moral Monday protests around the state, and Monday Charlotte is one of three cities to host rallies. Manteo and Burnsville are the other two.
The group got a lot of attention -- and nearly a thousand arrests -- during their weekly protests at the state Capitol.
Now they want those protests to take place in every one of North Carolina's Congressional districts.
We're going to heighten the consciousness of the community, said Charlotte NAACP President Rev. Kojo Nantambu.
Nantambu said Sunday he wants the assembly to raise awareness about how new laws affect poor and working-class residents of the state.
A few of the issues he wants to raise awareness about: cutting unemployment benefits, turning away federal Medicaid money, and new laws that make it harder for college students to vote at their college addresses.
Rev. Nantambo is especially critical of new laws requiring voters to show identification at the polls.
People go to the polls because they want to participate and exercise their constitutional right, they want to be considered a citizen and do what is free for citizens to do -- to take part in the political process, he said. Why do you want to make it complicated?
I think that's deliberate to dissuade, to discourage, and to disenfranchise people, from voting, he added.
The Mecklenburg County GOP countered with a campaign of its own -- walking neighborhoods Saturday to tell residents why Republicans in Raleigh voted the way they did, and why they disagree with the Moral Monday protestors on the issues.
I reject the Moral Monday term, said MeckGOP chairman BradOvercash, and the protesters', in my opinion, self-righteous claim that they are the arbiters of what is moral and what is immoral in politics.
Overcash argued that federal money for Medicaid came with too many strings attached, and the state wouldn't be able to afford to continue the programs once federal money for them ran out.
He also said that tax cuts for businesses would allow them to put more people to work, reducing the need for unemployment benefits across the state, and leaving more money in workers' paychecks.
They're going to have more money to spend, save or give away as they see fit, said Overcash.
Overcash also calls new voting laws the best legislations in decades.
Early voting periods will be shorter, but more early voting sites will be open, said Overcash, leaving the same number of early voting hours available to voters.
And seven different forms of ID can pass for identification at the polls, according to the new law.
If you don't have any of those seven classifications, he said, you will be eligible to be provided with an ID free of charge.
The rally begins at 5 p.m. in Marshall Park, on 3rd Street in uptown Charlotte. In the case of bad weather, the rally will move to St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church on Allen Street, which is off Seigle Avenue a few blocks from uptown.