William Barber at YDS: Building a prophetic moral vision

Yale Divinity School welcomed Moral Mondays founder William Barber to the Quad on February 3 for a rousing conversation on building a prophetic movement for justice.
Known for his electrifying speech at the Democratic National Convention last summer, Barber is a minister, head of the North Carolina NAACP, and the leader of a movement to build a progressive agenda and a moral framework that counters the conservative religious constructs dominating the public square.
With several hundred students, faculty, staff, and community members packing Marquand Chapel and an overflow space, Barber recounted the origins and growth of the Moral Mondays movement. Responding to questions from his on-stage interview, YDS Professor Willie Jennings, Barber brought the audience to its feet with his call for a “fusion politics” uniting people of different races and orientations in raising a moral voice on behalf of the poor and marginalized.
Several audience members live-tweeted his every quip while Barber offered one memorable line after another. Among them:
  • “You can’t pastor people and not care about the social pressures impacting their lives.”
  • “I don’t trust preachers who aren’t willing to go to jail.”
  • “When you’re coming from a moral perspective, you shape the narrative, and you have the power to persevere.”
  • “It’s not race or class. It’s race AND class!”
  • “There’s a call and response in American history: racial progress and racial backlash.”
  • “We won’t be silent anymore!”
  • “Places like Yale Divinity School have an essential role in transforming the nation and rekindling moral witness in the public square.”
Barber was at YDS to guest-lecture in the School’s program in Transformational Leadership for Church and Society, which offers weekend-intensive one-credit courses featuring leading practitioners.
February 5, 2017