In the spirit of protest

Jan. 22, 2014 @ 09:52 AM

WHAT: “Go, Granny D”
WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday
WHERE: Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
4907 Garrett Road, Durham
TICKETS: Admission is free, donations accepted.

Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Durham Friends Meeting are hosting a performance about a national protestor that will benefit protests close to home – the Moral Monday movement in North Carolina.
Barbara Bates Smith will perform her show, “Go, Granny D,” about the late Doris ‘Granny D’ Haddock, on Monday at ERUUF in Durham. Smith is known for her 20 years of performances of Hillsborough author Lee Smith’s works, including the show “Ivy Rowe” from “Fair and Tender Ladies.”
Barbara Bates Smith said Granny D’s activism is more and more relevant now, to get big money out of politics. The real Granny D spoke out nationwide for campaign finance reform in 2000, when she was 90 years old. Smith read Haddock’s memoir, which convinced her to be an activist, Smith said.
“I’ve always thought I should get involved – she gave me a reason to do it,” Smith said. So she did, beyond her “Go, Granny D” production. Along with other Episcopalians from Western North Carolina, Smith went to the N.C. NAACP-led Moral Monday on July 1 in Raleigh, to protest Republican General Assembly legislative decisions. She hadn’t planned to be arrested, but decided civil disobedience was warranted. She protested in the spirit of Granny D, Smith said.
“I’m glad I did, because it’s an important movement,” she said. Smith, who lives in Clyde, outside Asheville, has already been to court. She paid a fee and completed 25 hours of community service rather than going to trial. She already volunteers every Wednesday at a program that offers necessities and friendship to homeless people in Asheville.
The Rev. Deborah Cayer, lead minister at Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, said that Moral Mondays have demonstrated “how important it is for all of us as citizens to make our voices heard, particularly on issues that affect the most vulnerable among us, as well as the principles of democracy.”
Cayer was arrested herself on June 10 at the Moral Monday protest focused on clergy protesting policies on religious grounds. She pleaded not guilty and will go to trial March 4.
The “Go, Granny D” performance is part of ERUUF’s third annual “Thirty Days of Love” campaign encouraging members to give at least one hour of service to local social justice ministries or agencies.
“A good dose of Granny D’s passionate commitment, humor and love might be just the encouragement we need to keep reaching out in respectful ways to claim the common moral ground that has always been at the heart of our democracy,” Cayer said. “There’s room for differences in that good place, and our humor, love and common courtesy make it possible to truly welcome everyone to the great celebration of life that’s waiting there as a possibility for us all.”
Karen Stewart of Durham Friends Meeting said they wanted to sponsor the event benefiting Moral Mondays because the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, has a history of spiritually-based activism and testimonies of equality, peace, integrity, simplicity and community.
“A number of members of Durham Friends Meeting participated in the protests last summer and seven members of the community were among those arrested. Quaker lawyer Scott Holmes continues to represent many of the protesters as they go to trial,” Stewart said. “Moral Monday protests address a wide-ranging set of causes and as a Friends Meeting we feel it is important to support the N.C. NAACP in their efforts to continue to raise awareness of the actions of the legislature,” she said. The late Granny D “offers inspiration to all of us in following our leadings to work for whatever causes we hold most dear,” Stewart said.