Engaged Spirituality and Egalitarianism in US Social Welfare Policy

  • Jennifer L. Erkulwater
Part of the Jepson Studies in Leadership book series (JSL)


On a spring day in late April 2013, police outside the General Assembly building in Raleigh, North Carolina, arrested a group of 17 protesters for trespassing and acts of civil disobedience. Affiliated with 16 organizations representing clergy, labor unions, and civil, women’s, and gay rights groups, the protesters staged a sit-in to object to recent legislative decisions that limited the ability of death row inmates to challenge their sentences; denied expanded access to health care for low-income residents; and cut spending on public education, unemployment benefits, and income support for the working poor. The protesters’ call for inclusion and equality struck a nerve among progressive activists and everyday voters. By the end of summer, their small act of defiance had grown into a grassroots social justice movement. Each week, on “Moral Monday,” hundreds, sometimes thousands, of protesters gathered at the state capitol and in cities throughout North Carolina to march, pray, sing gospel hymns, and occupy public buildings in an effort to make clear their demand that government conform to Christian principles of justice and compassion. Their tactics of spiritual resistance made headlines across the country and inspired similar demonstrations in other states.


Voluntary Sector Civil Disobedience Moral Worth Online Document Social Welfare Policy 
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© Jennife L. Erkulwater 2016

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  • Jennifer L. Erkulwater

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