Berry Craig: A “Moral Monday” for Kentucky?

Daniel Boone trudged many wilderness miles from North Carolina to help found Kentucky.

Should the Kentucky Democratic Party’s slog from the political wilderness start from where Dan’l departed?

In charting the KDP’s uncertain future, party brass might look to the Tar Heel State for some guidance, suggests Daniel Lowry. He’s the KDP communications director.

“North Carolina was in the same boat we’re in. The Republican governor, House and Senate started wreaking havoc and started hurting the people. The people stood up for what was morally right. They started having protests.”

The protests morphed into “Moral Monday.” The grassroots, multi-racial, multi-issue progressive movement played a big role in tea party Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s defeat by moderately conservative Democrat Roy Cooper.

Moral Monday is nonpartisan. But many Democrats embraced it.

Anyway, after election day, Lowry erased the white marker board in his office at KDP headquarters in Frankfort. He grabbed a blue felt tip pen and wrote, “LET’S TALK ABOUT A MORAL AGENDA.”

The symbolism is hard to miss. Having wiped his slate clean, the Georgetown resident is ready for the KDP to start fresh.

So is Daniel Hurt, 23, one of the youngest members of the KDP Executive Committee. The western Kentuckian from Grand Rivers is all in for a Kentucky version of Moral Monday.

Hurt, who also chairs the Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, points out that Moral Monday has deep roots in North Carolina’s faith community.

The movement’s leader is the Rev. William Barber, who is also president of the state NAACP.

“I am a member of a mainline Protestant church and I believe that you prove yourself through your actions,” said Hurt, a Methodist. “One of the best ways to do that is with public service, whether it’s in government or in the community. For example, you can advocate for universal health care and for social programs to help the less fortunate. These programs, these ideas, sure, are public policy areas, but they are appropriate ways of displaying your faith through action. People hear a lot of talk, but what is really important is that we put those words into actions.”

Meanwhile, there seems little the Democrats can do to stop the hard-right GOP juggernaut when the General Assembly convenes next month.

The Republicans hold a 27-11 Senate majority. Their House edge is 64-36. Thus, Lowry and Hurt concede that the Democrats’ comeback trail is likely to be rocky, steep and lengthy.

But a Moral Monday-like grassroots movement might be sprouting in Murray, where Hurt is a senior political science major at Murray State University.

A “March for Equality and Social Justice” is set for Jan. 21 to coincide with the Women’s March on Washington. Organizers include university faculty, students, union members, retirees, clergy and others.

The march, according to the group, “is a celebration of the principles of democracy, a demonstration of solidarity with the disenfranchised, and a demand of our government/leaders that they uphold the United States Constitution and be accountable to those principles of equality and justice for all.”

More information about the march is available from Peter Murphy via email at and Sarah Gutwirth at

Berry Craig is the webmaster-editor for the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, and also services on the state AFL-CIO Executive Board and serves as recording secretary for the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council. He is a charter member of American Federation of Teachers Local 1360.


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