An escape from reality is tempting, but America needs truth from its leaders

It was selfish to even ask the question: Will Broadway turn the lights back on in a month, as promised?

Turns out that’s doubtful, despite a goal of an April 12 reboot. Those tickets I had scored are worthless either way, since that particular show in previews, “Hangmen,” has announced it has permanently closed before it officially opened.

Considering New York’s many troubles — the mounting human toll of the coronavirus, the shortage of hospital beds and protective equipment for health workers, the many thrown out of jobs — the fate of one show is just one item on a long list of things shaken by the global pandemic. Many who are rationing supplies and struggling to replace lost wages couldn’t afford a Broadway ticket in the best of times.

So, yes, selfish. But understandable, when in a world of uncertainty and danger in possibly the air we breathe, and on every object or human we touch, escape and connection are things we crave. Friends are trying new recipes, joining online dance parties and yoga classes, adopting dogs and often channeling unexpected free time into worthy activities, like my talented niece sewing face masks for the medical health pros who desperately need them.

How Rev. William J. Barber II Uses His Faith to Fight for the Poor

For 27 years, the Rev. William J. Barber II has been the pastor at a church in the small city of Goldsboro, N.C. But on a recent afternoon, he could be found at a hotel in Raleigh, about an hour away from home. His work as an activist takes him to the state capital often enough that he’s well known there. Not long after, he’d move on to an event in Charleston, S.C., and then to Iowa, where he’d lead a march demanding a presidential debate on poverty.

Barber is ever in motion, and he’s still picking up momentum. He’s hardly stopped since he attracted national attention as the leader of the Moral Mondays protests held at the North Carolina capitol in Raleigh beginning in 2013. His newsmaking actions were founded on the idea that being a person of faith means fighting for justice—whether by working beside a conservative mayor to protest the closing of rural hospitals or by calling for an NAACP boycott of the state in response to the legislature’s actions, like its infamous “bathroom bill.”

If She Didn’t Give Up on Democracy, Neither Should We

OPINION — If you don’t know Rosanell Eaton’s name, it’s time to learn exactly who she was and why her life and life’s work matters. She is the antidote to the cynicism infecting politics in 2018, a hero of democracy when democracy is under siege. She cared about her country and its highest principles, demanded her basic human and civil rights and brought others along with her.

Rosanell Eaton would not take “no” for an answer.

Her 97 years of life were full of the kind of accomplishments and resistance that truly make America great. We can mourn Eaton, who died on Saturday, and then honor her by following her example.

Opinion: Is It Too Early for North Carolina Democrats to Get Their Hopes Up, Again?

In 2008, Barack Obama’s slim North Carolina victory in his first presidential run had Democrats in the state celebrating in the present and dreaming of a blue future in what had been considered a (relatively) progressive Southern state. Boy, were those dreams premature.

But 10 years later — after new redistricting and voting rules solidified GOP control in both the state and U.S. House delegations and a bill on LGBT rights made the state a poster child for conservative social policies — Democrats are again seeing light at the end of a deep-red tunnel.

Opinion: For Whom and What Do Faith Leaders Pray?

Were their prayers answered?

White — most of them, anyway — evangelicals, recently photographed laying hands on President Donald Trump perhaps were praying that the proposed Senate health care bill, the one estimates predicted would result in millions losing care or Medicaid coverage, would fail.

And it did.

Or maybe not. Who knows what a person prays for in his or her heart?

Local News Roundup: Reaction to Comey Firing, Parents Weigh In on CMS Map, Crime on the Rise

Carolina senators react to the firing of the FBI director. Charlotte-Mecklenburg parents give the school board feedback on the student assignment plan. Violent crime figures are on the rise. Mike Collins and our reporter roundtable discuss the week’s news.

Is There a Reward at the End of the Democrats’ Long Slog?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The HKonJ protest this past weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina, may have been the largest such event, but it wasn’t the first time that thousands, with causes as diverse as the citizen-marchers themselves, showed up. For 11 years, with messages for both Republicans and Democrats, the faithful gathering at Historic Thousands on Jones Street have persisted.

There is a lesson for the dissatisfied, new to activism, who are now crowding town halls and filling the streets: Victories may never come, or may be incremental, at best. Each goal accomplished could be followed by a setback.

Are the protesters of 2017 in it for the long haul?

Supreme Court Could Decide Voter-Restriction Battle in NC

Last week, voting-rights advocates hailed a legal victory—at least briefly—when a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit cleared the way for North Carolina voters to utilize same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct provisional balloting, both of which were eliminated in a revision of the state’s election law that was passed by a Republican legislature in 2013.

But any celebration was incomplete—and short-lived.

Could NAACP leader and black GOP senator find common ground?

In the bipartisan effort to strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965, key parts of which were eliminated by the Supreme Court last year,  Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and the Rev. William Barber, head of the North Carolina NAACP, would likely find themselves on opposite sides.

And that’s just if the debate were strictly political. Now, it has gotten personal, with Barber’s recent remarks about the tea party-backed Scott, the only black Republican in Congress, causing both sides to retreat to established positions and preconceptions.

North Carolina protesters look forward and reach back to faith

If the scene looks familiar, well, it is.

A minister leading the way as a multi-hued crowd of demonstrators speaks of justice and equality, even while being peacefully led away by police. Speeches laced with words of scripture on caring for “the least of these.” A governor who calls a growing numbers of protesters “outsiders.”

It’s the South, in 2013, not 1963. But surprisingly to some, it’s North Carolina, long hailed as a moderate to progressive Southern state that is now making national headlines for Moral Mondays, named that by those who object to a stream of conservative proposals put forth by a Republican-controlled legislature and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.