Category Archives: Workshop

Launch of Moral Revolution of Values

“Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values” tour

On April 4, 2016, an event called Time for a Moral Revolution of Values was organized at Temple Beth Or in Raleigh, NC. This event included testimonies of attacks on education, healthcare, immigrants, workers, LGBTQ community members, Muslims and voters. The following are reports from this tour.

NC NAACP Press Release:
In light of the repeated misrepresentation of so-called “evangelism” in the public square, and the lewd amounts of money and political energy being spent to hijack the democratic process, Rev. Dr. William Barber and Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Senior Minister Emeritus of the Riverside Church in NYC, and their many friends in the social justice clergy community who have agreed to join them, have been called to seek a moral awakening and a Third Reconstruction in America. They are beginning a tour of Revivals across the nation and on April 4th, the Revival is coming to North Carolina.

From Daily Kos on 4/3/16:
Today is the kickoff day for the launch of “The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values”, a national revival tour to redefine morality in American politics.

The event is being held at Riverside Church in New York City at 3PM and will be live-streamed.

Rev. William Barber II, Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr, Rev. Traci Blackmon, and Sister Simone Campbell are spearheading the tour, which, on the first leg will engage people in 15 states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, and Washington DC.

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, architect of the transformative Moral Monday Movement and founder of Repairers of the Breach, Senior Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church Disciples of Christ and the Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr, Senior Minister Emeritus of The Riverside Church, president of Healing of the Nations Ministries and National Minister for the Drum Major Institute, today announced the launch of The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values that will champion the sacred values of love, justice, and mercy in the public square at a time when they are needed more than ever.

Reverends Barber and Forbes have been invited by local civil rights and moral leaders to come to their cities to conduct revival meetings and services. They will be joined by other national social justice activists who bring the same deep moral analysis of the nation’s problems including the Rev. Traci Blackmon, acting Executive Minister of the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries, and Sister Simone Campbell, Director of the Catholic social justice lobby NETWORK in Washington, DC.

Sponsored by Repairers of the Breach, Healing of the Nations Ministries and Drum Major Institute, the tour starts at The Riverside Church in New York City on Sunday, April 3 at 3:00 p.m. EST. It will hold meetings and services in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Ohio, Oklahoma and Virginia through December of 2016 and continue on through 2017. The first Revival will be in Raleigh, NC on Monday, April 4, the anniversary of Dr. King’s historic sermon at Riverside —“A Time to Break the Silence”—in 1967, and his assassination in Memphis one year later—just 48 years ago.

The April 4th event in Raleigh is being held on the anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 at Temple Beth Or, at 6:30 PM.

The revolution tour is coming — get on board!


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#BlackLivesMatter QTPOC Lead Fight Against House Bill 2

#BlackLivesMatter Queer Trans People of Color Coalition Lead Movement Against House Bill 2

North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 2 that was signed into law by Governor McCrory on March 23, 2016. This law legalizes discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming community members. In addition to transphobia, House Bill 2 robs municipal powers for increasing minimum wage, preventing racist housing and other local measures. #BlackLivesMatter Queer Trans People of Color Coalition is leading a movement to fight this bill. A protest was organized by the coalition in front of Governor’s Mansion in Raleigh on March 24, 2016. The following is a statement (co-signed by MERI) and pictures from the protest.


On the anniversary of the passing of Blake Brockington, a Black trans teen from Charlotte, North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly moved to attack working people and create dangerous conditions for women, LGBTQ people, black and brown people, and any workers who experience discrimination or who struggle to make ends meet.

The General Assembly and Governor McCrory chose to criminalize trans and gender nonconforming children and youth, and to scapegoat trans women and other trans people for rape by passing NC HB 2. House Bill 2 bars city and county governments from raising their municipal minimum wage, as well as prohibits anti-discrimination policies that account for gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation. Lawmakers were given only 5 minutes to review the bill and it passed within a 12 hour period without a single trans person of color being allowed to speak.
This bill reinforces the school to prison pipeline that trans and gender non-conforming students of color already face by making their choice of toilet grounds for suspension or arrest.
This bill rolls back decades of hard-won progress, and will harm our whole state. It undermines municipal democratic control, advancements in anti-discrimination policy, and further prohibits wage increases. This is a direct assault on working families and particularly working women of color who are most likely to be paid poverty wages. LGBTQ folks of color are workers, and we are worth more!

This bill uses trans panic and the scapegoating of trans women to derail real conversations about safety and consent. Trans and queer people are survivors of sexual assault, too. Our safety matters and we don’t make our community safer by threatening others with the brute force of the murderous police or incarceration. If our state is truly concerned for survivors of sexual assault, it will make comprehensive consent and sex education mandatory. This law does nothing to prevent indecent exposure and sexual assault, which are already illegal, but instead prevents local governments from protecting the safety and livelihoods of queer and trans people.

We honor and fight for Blake by affirming that our lives matter. Anti-transgender bias and legislation and persistent structural racism directly impact the devastating rates of suicidality, unemployment, physical and sexual violence, poverty, incarceration and homelessness experienced by transgender people of color.

Trans and Queer people of color demand a living wage and freedom from criminalization and discrimination, in the workplace and in the bathroom.

Tonight, we are calling for a Special Session of the People outside of the Governor’s mansion. For Blake Brockington, for Angel Elisha Walker, for all Black and Brown trans and queer people in North Carolina who have been murdered, disappeared, or incarcerated, it is our duty to speak. It is our duty to demand freedom, to demand a living wage, to demand education, to demand comprehensive health care that is accessible and free of charge.

QPOCC, The Tribe, #BlackLivesMatter North Carolina, Sister Song, Ignite NC, Southern Vision Alliance, Youth Organizing Institute, #BlackLivesMatter Gate City, Workers World Party, SONG NC, Greensboro Mural Project, GenderBenders, Fight for $15, QORDS, Trans Pride in Action, Queer Youth Circus, House daLorde, Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia (MERI-NC), SAFE Coalition NC, LGBTQ Center of Durham, Center for Family and Maternal Wellness


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National Lawyers Guild Conference Hosts Talk on Islamophobia

Islamophobia talk hosted by NLG Southern Regional Conference

National Lawyers Guild Southern Regional Conference hosted a panel titled “Combating the New Wave of Islamophobia and Xenophobia in the South” on March 19, 2016. This conference was organized at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Panelists included Azadeh Shahsahahani (legal and advocacy director of Project South), Dani Moore (NC Justice Center), Manzoor Cheema (MERI and Muslims for Social Justice), Zaid Kuseybi (Greensboro, NC, based activist). The panel was moderated by Ajamu Dillahunt, founding member of Black Workers for Justice. This panel explored Islamophobia and anti-immigrant assaults, connection between Islamophobia and anti-Black racism, and how to build a movement against Islamophobia and other forms of oppression.

About National Lawyers Guild:
“Our aim is to bring together all those who recognize the importance of safeguarding and extending the rights of workers, women, LGBTQ people, farmers, people with disabilities and people of color, upon whom the welfare of the entire nation depends; who seek actively to eliminate racism; who work to maintain and protect our civil rights and liberties in the face of persistent attacks upon them; and who look upon the law as an instrument for the protection of the people, rather than for their repression.”

Learn more at:




Islamophobia Talk Hosted by Durham People’s Alliance

Durham People’s Alliance Hosts a talk on Islamophobia

A talk titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” was organized by Durham-based People’s Alliance on March 10, 2016. Manzoor Cheema from MERI (Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia) spoke at the event. This event explored roots of Islamophobia, how Islamophobia is connected to racism and other forms of oppressions, and how allies can build a movement against this oppressions.

Learn more about Durham People’s Alliance:
What we want our community to be like:
A community can be more than a place where people live. It can be a place where people live well. We are committed to a community where all basic needs are met and each individual has the opportunity for a life of accomplishment, dignity and pride.
We envision our community, from local to global, as one which follows these principles:
Community Guarantee of Basic Needs
Our economy will provide full employment in safe workplace. In our community there will be affordable housing, health care, public transportation, quality childcare and education for our children, nutritious food available at reasonable prices, and recreational and cultural opportunities open to all. The cost of providing for basic needs will be distributed fairly within the community.
Celebration of Diversity
Our community will be a place where the perspectives of diverse groups such as different races, economic classes, genders, religious perspectives, sexual orientation, ages, and abilities, are respected. There will be an atmosphere of tolerance, good humor, and recognition of diverse cultural values.
Our economy will encourage local self-sufficiency through the use of renewable resources of both energy and goods. We will maintain clean air, water and a variety of natural environments.
Local Decision-Making
Citizens will participate in democratic decision-making within our neighborhoods and community. People affected by decisions will play a major role in those decisions.


Allies Organize to End Torture

North Carolinians Rally to End Torture

North Carolina Stop Torture Now organized an event to highlight North Carolina’s role in aiding torture through a practice called extraordinary rendition. This event was organized outside North Carolina Governor’s Mansion in downtown Raleigh on March 9, 2016. Members of North Carolina Council of Churches, UNC Law School, Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, Code Pink – North Carolina and other organizations spoke at the event.

The Convention Against Torture states that “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

Sending a person to a country where it is known they will be tortured – a practice known as extraordinary rendition – is also illegal under international law.

Learn about North Carolina Stop Torture Now:

North Carolina Stop Torture Now is a grassroots coalition of individuals representing themselves and—through their involvement and witness to neighbors—a diversity of faith, human rights, peace, veteran, and student groups across the state.

We aim to stop torture everywhere, and have worked since 2005 to expose and end North Carolina’s central role in the ongoing U.S. torture program.


Here are pictures from the event.

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Vigil and March for “Our Three Brothers”

A Vigil for Three Black Muslims murdered execution-style in Indiana

On Feb 24th, Taha Omar, Adam Mekki, and Muhammad Tairab, Sudanese-Americans from a predominately Muslim community, were murdered “execution-style” in Fort Wayne, Indiana. There was little media coverage or outcry of community support for the horrible crime committed against these young black men. The media quickly painted a “black thug” narrative and at least one University’s MSA canceled a scheduled vigil for the young men.

As a response, a vigil and march was organized in the memory of “Our Three Brothers” by Black, People of Color and Muslim organizers in Durham, NC on March 8, 2016. The march started at Ibad Ar-Rahman Masjid on Fayetteville Rd and marched to North Carolina Central University. Participants held banners and chanted slogans in protest of anti-black racism and islamophobia. The march was supported by residents, passers-by and students, mostly Black and People of Color.

Learn more about this tragedy here:

#OurThreeBrothers – Mourning the Loss of Three Innocent Lives

““There is definitely a reason why my cousins and friend are not getting as much media coverage, and it is because they were black,” Dahab says, in an exclusive interview. “There is discrimination in the Islamic community on who is really a legitimate Muslim and there is a belief that if you are not from the Middle East, you are not as Islamic as someone from Saudi Arabia for example,” he continues.”

#OurThreeBrothers – Do You See Us Black Muslims Now

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Islamophobia Talk at Fairmont United Methodist Church

Fairmont United Methodist Church Hosts  Talk on Islamophobia

A talk titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” was hosted by Raleigh-based Fairmont United Methodist Church on February 29, 2016. This talk was hosted by Social Justice Committee of Fairmont United Methodist Church. Manzoor Cheema, founding member of Muslims for Social Justice and Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia, spoke at the event. This talk explored roots of Islamophobia, its connection to racism and other forms of oppression and how to defeat this oppression. The talk was followed by a lively Q&A session.

About Fairmont United Methodist Church:
The name “Fairmont” was selected because the North Carolina State Fair was located in this neighborhood, 1873-1922. The fair’s second location, it was well away from town – just like State College!
The church was established because of students, who continue to be integral to our life. The Raleigh Wesley Foundation began in 1942, and is among the state’s longest standing campus ministries.
The church was established because of students, who continue to be integral to our life. The Raleigh Wesley Foundation began in 1942, and is among the state’s longest standing campus ministries.
Social Justice Work:
Our social justice team grew out of our self-study during 2007, our 70th anniversary year. We have worked together in three key areas:  mental health reform, public education in Wake  County, and are just beginning a more concerted effort at befriending the environment.

SURJ Triangle Hosts Islamophobia Workshop

MERI Facilitates Islamophobia Workshop for SURJ Triangle

A workshop titled “Disrupting Islamophobia” was presented to the members of SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) Triangle on February 28, 2016. This workshop was facilitated by Qasima Wideman, Eva Panjwani and Manzoor Cheema. This workshop identified roots of Islamophobia as racialized oppression and different ways this oppression operates in our society. This workshop included interactive sessions where participants developed responses to scenarios of Islamophobia attacks in community. The workshop offered many practical actions people can take to challenge Islamophobia, racism and other forms of oppression.

MERI offers workshops on Islamophobia that are facilitated by People of Color and Muslim presenters. These workshops offer interactive sessions to allow understanding about Islamophobia and learn from participants’ experience. Resources generated from these workshops allow anti-Islamophobia work by grassroots organizers in the People of Color and Muslim communities.

SURJ Mission:
SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals organizing White people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves White people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. We work to connect people across the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change.


MERI Members Participate in HKonJ 2016 Rally

Islamophobia and other Oppressions Highlighted at HKonJ 2016

MERI (Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia) members and allies participated in Moral March on Raleigh or HKonJ (Historic Thousands on Jones Street) People’s Assembly on February 13, 2016. Muslims for Social Justice mobilized many Muslims to participate in this rally that connects anti-racism, worker rights, women rights, immigrant rights, environmental justice, anti-Islamophobia and other progressive movements. Farris Barakat, brother of Deah Barakat  who was murdered along with his wife and sister-in-law in Chapel Hill in early 2015, spoke at the rally. Barakat made connection between fight against Islamophobia and anti-racism movement. Check news coverage of the rally.

Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle had a wonderful banner expressing support to BlackLivesMatter, Palestine Liberation, Anti-Islamophobia and Queer Liberation movements. Jewish Voice for Peace – Triangle has organized canvassing against Islamophobia at Triangle-based businesses.

What is HKonJ?
For the past ten years, a fusion movement has been growing in North Carolina. In 2006, the Historic Thousands on Jones St. (HKonJ) People’s Assembly Coalition was formed under the leadership of Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II and the North Carolina NAACP. It has grown to include over 150 coalition partners. Each year this fusion movement comes together on the second Saturday in February to hold a mass people’s assembly to reaffirm its commitment to the 14 Point People’s Agenda and to hold lawmakers accountable to the people of North Carolina.
Learn more at:

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BAJ Organizes Talk on Islamophobia

BAJ Organizes a Talk Titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia”

Chapel Hill based BAJ (Balance & Accuracy in Journalism) organized a talk titled “Challenging Racism and Islamophobia” on February 10, 2016. This talk was hosted by the Community Church of Chapel Hill, UU and sponsored by Peace and Justice Committee of the Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist . This talk was given by Manzoor Cheema from MERI (Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia). This talk explored roots of Islamophobia, its connection to racism and other forms of oppression, and how to build a movement to end this oppression.

BAJ is a twenty-five year old organization with a dedication to reform media. It is headed by veteran social justice and human rights activist Jerry Markatos.

More information about BAJ and Jerry Markatos:
“Markatos, a native of Wilmington, N.C., has served for many years on the boards of the Carolina Interfaith Taskforce on Central America and the Southeast chapter of Witness for Peace and as a former board member of the N.C. Editorial Forum. He has arranged travel to Fort Benning, Ga., for the annual protest against the School of the Americas, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. He hosts and organizes fundraising events each year for Pastors for Peace “to help them carry much-needed medical, educational and construction supplies to Cuba.”

In 1991 Markatos co-founded Balance and Accuracy in Journalism, a co-sponsor of many programs that have focused on human-rights abuses in the Middle East and in Latin America. He continues to chair BAJ.

“Jerry grasps the deepest connections and contradictions inherent in governmental policies and practices,” said Tana Hartman of Chapel Hill. “And he sees the enormous obstacles to turning the juggernaut around before it destroys us all. But so do many others.

“What makes Jerry absolutely unique in my experience,” Hartman continued, “is that, despite his tremendous knowledge and utter abhorrence of the inequities and injustices that continue unabated around the globe, he remains one of the most genuinely positive, humble, good-natured and compassionate individuals I have ever met.””