Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to the service of others, fighting tirelessly for social justice and social change. He did so as a minister and activist, and a leader of the civil rights movement. So it was with great joy that we announce that Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, also a minister and activist, will be the keynote speaker for the 29th All Peoples Celebration, which will take place on Monday, January 16, 2017 at the Balboa Park Activity Center.
Rev. Barber is part of the living legacy of Dr. King. He is a nationally recognized champion of civil rights, and a warrior for working families, LGBT communities, and immigrants. He is known for his inspirational messages of how to move the country forward, and for his thunderous speeches that as one attendee put it, “will knock your socks off.”
About Rev. Barber:
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II serves as President of the North Carolina NAACP and leads the Forward Together Moral Movement, an alliance of more than 200 progressive organizations better known as “Moral Monday.” This coalition has spearheaded justice work in the state and inspired organizing across the nation.
Beginning in 2013, tens of thousands joined the “Moral Monday” protests; more than a thousand were arrested in civil disobedience. On February 8, 2014, a crowd estimated by USA Today at 80,000 participated in the Mass Moral March on Raleigh, the largest in the South since Selma 1965. In July 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th District struck down the state’s voter suppression law in North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory, ruling that the state had “targeted African Americans with almost surgical precision.” On September 12, 2016, the coalition coordinated simultaneous demonstrations at thirty state capitols across America in the “Moral Day of Action.”
The Washington Post called Barber’s speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention “the most engaging” of a convention marked by memorable speeches. Forward Together is a multi-racial movement to resist attacks by the state government on voting rights, public education, Medicaid, the environment, and the rights of women, labor, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community.
In 2016, Rev. Dr. Barber headlined a national organizing tour called “The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values,” working alongside Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon, and Sister Simone Campbell to redefine morality in American politics. Over fifty events in more than twenty states led by national and local faith leaders sought to spark political activism to address poverty, injustice, and inequality.
Rev. Dr. Barber serves on the NAACP National Board of Directors and chairs the National NAACP Legislative Political Action Committee. He is president of Repairers of the Breach, Inc. Rev. Dr. Barber graduated from North Carolina Central University, earned a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University, and a doctorate from Drew University.
He is Visiting Professor of Public Theology and Activism at Union Theological Seminary and the author of several books including Forward Together: A Moral Vision for the Nation and The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics and the Rise of a New Justice Movement. He lives in Goldsboro, N.C. where he has pastored Greenleaf Christian Church for 25 years