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Civitas’ Moral Monday Arrestee Database Elicits Critical Responses

Screen shot of the 'Pick the Protester Game' on the Civitas website.
screen shot of Civitas website

The  Civitas Institute posted an online database of Moral Monday/Witness Wednesday arrestees yesterday on its website, prompting a flood of responses and online commentary. The database includes demographic breakdowns of 382 people by political affiliation, age, race, and employment, and even includes a “Pick The Protester Game" in which the user must match a piece of demographic information with one of three mugshots.

Immediately after it was posted, the Institute for Southern Studies issued a critical statement on their website, in which they compared the database to the actions of White Citizens’ Councils, which published the names of NAACP supporters in local newspapers in the mid twentieth century in order to encourage retaliation against them.

There have been a slew of other responses, some in the form of open letters: Jedediah Purdy, a Duke Law School professor who was arrested at a Moral Monday protest, wrote a letter to the Civitas Institute on the Huffington Post; another Moral Mondays arrestee whose name was included in the database—Ann Humphreys—wrote an open letter on Facebook explaining why she is proud to be a protester and condemned the Civitas database as an effort to target individuals like her; and a lively discussion on the Raleigh reddit page about the Civitas database drew over 75 responses within hours. 

In a statement on the Civitas website, President Francis X. De Luca said, “Questions have been raised about who is really involved in these protests. We decided to get some answers. They provide surprising insights about those arrested and where they come from.”

Laura moved from Chattanooga to Chapel Hill in 2013 to join WUNC as a web producer. She graduated from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in the spring of 2012 and has created radio and multimedia stories for a variety of outlets, including Marketplace, Prairie Public, and Maine Public Broadcasting. When she's not out hunting stories, you can usually find her playing the fiddle.
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