A crowd declared by organizers to exceed 80,000 showed up to march to protest Republican policies in Raleigh, N.C. Saturday. But you wouldn't know it if you live outside the area.
Saturday's big march, organized by the North Carolina NAACP along with more than 160 partner organizations, was called "the Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) People's Coalition." Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the N.C. NAACP and convener of HKonJ, said at the march,
"We are black, white, Latino, Native American. We are Democrat, Republican, independent. We are people of all faiths, and people not of faith but who believe in a moral universe. We are natives and immigrants, business leaders and workers and unemployed, doctors and the uninsured, gay and straight, students and parents and retirees. We stand here – a quilt of many colors, faiths, and creeds."
Local News Reports
There were few reports in any national news outlets. (USA Today did carry a report, saying there was "a crowd of between 80,000 and 100,000 people.")
The Asheville Citizen-Times report, "Return to Raleigh," said,
"The attendance eclipses the 17,000 people that attended a similar march last year under the North Carolina’s NAACP Historic Thousands on Jones Street banner.
State NAACP President the Rev. William Barber II promised another summer of protests and continued litigation in reaction to policies of the Republican-controlled state government that he says are immoral."
The Asheville Citizen-Times report includes a video.
Charlotte Observer reported, "Charlotte-area residents join thousands to take to the streets of Raleigh for massive march,"
Demonstrations called “Moral Mondays” began last spring in Raleigh in response to legislation passed by the Republican-led General Assembly. The protests are designed to keep a spotlight on what organizers view as regressive policies, particularly on Medicaid, unemployment benefits, abortion, voting and education.
This video is from The News & Observer:
Winston-Salem Journal published "Residents and workers from Forsyth County attend Moral March on Raleigh"
Dot Hill got goose pimples just talking about being amongst so many people at the Moral March on Raleigh on Saturday.
“It was a wonderful fellowship that did unite a lot of people, and I think we’re going to see a change,” said Hill, the chairwoman of the Social Action Ministry at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.
“The messages were great and people were receptive. Everyone knew we were there for a great cause.”
See Winston-Salem Journal pictures at "Moral March On Raleigh."
Greenville Daily Reflector: "Multitude at "Moral March" protest NC GOP policies"
[North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Claude] Pope denounced the Moral Monday marches as an “overtly partisan, left-wing political movement” and called Barber “a radical left-wing activist” with a “fringe liberal agenda.”
“Make no mistake, tomorrow’s event is a political rally,” Pope said, “and the national left-wing groups like MoveOn.org and Planned Parenthood have been recruiting liberal activists from across the country to attend the rally.
“They support Rev. Barber’s radical left-wing agenda to fully implement 'Obamacare,' raise taxes and take us back to the days of double-digit unemployment,” he added.
The Root: "80,000 at Moral March Protest Injustice":
Saturday was the largest ever Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) Moral March, North Carolina's mobilization for social justice, which is in its eighth year. The march, led by the NAACP with more than 150 partners from around the country, was meant to reaffirm a promise to hold lawmakers accountable for human rights including the right to vote, economic justice, educational equality, access to health care and rights surrounding women, immigrants and the criminal justice system.
The size of this year's march, more than double that of last year's, shows that a more diverse group of people are using this opportunity as a platform for a much broader platform of civil rights than in the past.
RH Reality Check: ‘Forward Together, Not One Step Back’: Moral March Brings Out Tens of Thousands of Progressives, (This is a comprehensive report, click through for more.)
March organizers issued five demands for state government that reflect the broad concerns of its coalition—and the targets of right-wing leaders:
1. Secure pro-labor, anti-poverty policies that insure economic sustainability.
2. Provide well-funded, quality public education for all.
3. Promote health care for all, including affordable access, the expansion of Medicaid, women’s health, and environmental justice in every community.
4. Address the continuing disparities in the criminal justice system on the basis of race and class.
5. Defend and expand voting rights, women’s rights, immigrants’ rights, LGBT rights, and the fundamental principle of equality under the law for all people.
Al Jazeera America: "Tens of thousands march against conservative politics in North Carolina."
Since taking over the legislature in 2010 and the governor’s mansion in 2012, controlling state government for the first time in over a century, North Carolina Republicans eliminated the earned-income tax credit for 900,000 North Carolinians; refused Medicaid coverage for 500,000; ended federal unemployment benefits for 170,000; cut pre-K for 30,000 kids while shifting $90 million from public education to voucher schools; slashed taxes for the top 5 percent while raising taxes on the bottom 95 percent; axed public financing of judicial races; prohibited death row inmates from challenging racially discriminatory verdicts; passed one of the country’s most draconian anti-choice laws; and enacted the country’s worst voter suppression law, which mandates strict voter ID, cuts early voting and eliminates same-day registration, among other things.
Rev. Barber talking about Movements At CAF'S Gala
CAF's blog recently posted a partial transcript of a November speech by Rev. Barber, when he received the Paul Wellstone Citizen Leadership Award, "The Moral March Against The Forces Of Extremism and Regression":
And so we are making a call tonight. We built from the ground up but tonight we want you to join us on February 8. All roads lead to North Carolina. Just like they announced us to come to Selma in the 1960s, we are asking you to join us for a mass moral march on Raleigh on February 8 to send a signal throughout this state and throughout this country that we are not going backwards.
We want you to come and be there with us. Come on down, and let’s send a signal throughout the South that a new day is here: a new day of voting, a new day of working together, a new day of standing together, a new day of changing things together.
Somewhere upwards of 80,000 people did just that and marched Saturday.
Here is video of the speech from November, when Rev. Barber received the Paul Wellstone Citizen Leadership Award at CAF’s Gala.