News & Politics  
comments_image Comments

"They're not rational": 80-Year-Old Educator Speaks About Her Arrest in “Moral Monday Protests” Against Extreme Right-Wing Agenda in North Carolina

A senior citizen endures an ordeal to protect equality and quality in the public school system.

Yves here. NC intern Jessica Ferrer interviewed 80 year old Barbara Parramore, who was one of 57 arrested in North Carolina on May 20 as part of what has become weekly protests at the state General Assembly called “Moral Mondays”. Background courtesy Daily Kos:

These acts of civil disobedience are in protest of the Republican supermajority’s ramrodding of nearly 2,000 bills — many of them designed to decimate public education, deny/restrict access to health insurance, kneecap labor rights, seize local control from elected municipal governments, restrict women’s access to reproductive healthcare, expand firearms permissions, eviscerate oversight boards, permit exploitation of public lands, implement “fracking” and other environmental abuses, and suppress voter rights — through the state legislature since the end of January.

Her bail was posted by the NAACP. I was told by her daughter Lynn Parramore that the police were for the most part “not hostile” but the process was designed to intimidate. She was put in zip handcuffs, which made it hard for her to balance when climbing stairs. She was frisked twice, X-rayed and scans of her fingers and hands were added to a Federal database.

Here is some footage from the protest. The police move in around 5:20:

Jessica’s interview:

Next Monday will mark the 5th “Moral Monday” demonstration in North Carolina. These nonviolent protests organized by the NC NAACP and its coalition partners are taking place in Raleigh, North Carolina—the capital—and the call for morality isn’t for rebellious teenagers. Protesters are marching to the legislative building to ask their public officials to rethink the laws they are trying to pass. 80-year old Barbara Parramore worked in the North Carolina public education system for close to 40 years. She participated in the last Moral Monday and was arrested for civil disobedience.

Jessica Ferrer: Barbara, you were a teacher for North Carolina for how many years?

Barbara Parramore: I had 37 years, ranging from being an elementary school teacher, middle school teacher, to a school counselor and then elementary school principal, but then I completed my doctorate and went to the College of Education at NC State University, where I was for 25 years.

Jessica Ferrer: And your experience as a teacher and a counselor, principal and a professor led you to participate in Moral Monday?

Barbara Parramore: Yes. And after I retired, for about 10 years I was active in doing curriculum audits with a team that went to different school districts. Also during the 1980s, when I was on campus, I was president of the North Carolina Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and another time for two years I was president of the North Carolina Teachers for the Social Studies, so I’ve been very active on a statewide basis for most of my career as well.

Jessica Ferrer: But what is the meaning of the name “Moral Monday”? What does that mean?

Barbara Parramore: That issues at stake with the range of legislative acts being passed and proposed are beyond just a legal question. There’s a moral aspect to this of what is fair and equal. Equality under the law, you know we say that, but to have laws that are implemented that are against equal opportunity raises it to a moral issue. In other words, the laws by being unconstitutional and violating human rights are going beyond human law, which makes it a moral issue. And I consider what I was doing a moral responsibility to speak up and to be willing to be arrested. It is a moral issue with me to be silent when I know laws being implemented are going to hurt children and youth.