Local News

Moral March advances variety of issues

Posted February 8, 2014
Updated February 9, 2014

— Although they represented different ages, races and geographies, all of those who marched Saturday in downtown Raleigh share a single goal. "Everybody wants a change," said demonstrator Joyce Gresham.

Tens of thousands representing a number of different political and social issues clogged Raleigh's Wilmington and Fayetteville streets for what planners dubbed the "Moral March."

"I think a lot of people in this state from all different socio-economic levels are really fed up with the way things are going," said Jennifer Martin. She came to the march from Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham.

Others made a longer trip. Organizers made no secret of the fact that some of the participants were from outside the Triangle and even outside the state. They requested a permit for up to 20,000 and estimated the turnout at many more. People were bused in for the event from Washington, D.C., and New York City. 

The state NAACP, which has organized the event in the past as the "Historic Thousands on Jones Street," renamed it this year to continue the protests against recent North Carolina legislative actions begun last spring. Over the course of three months, more than 900 people were arrested in a series of marches known as "Moral Monday."

"In this moment we cannot be silent. We must speak up," Rev. William Barber urged the assembly. Barber, state president of the NAACP was the key speaker at the rally.

GOP leader blasts protest as "partisan," "fringe"

North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope on Friday called the movement "radical left-wing activism" and accused Barber of seeking to "eviscerate" state Republican leaders. 

“Barber’s use of inflammatory, divisive and offensive rhetoric has no place in the public arena of ideas,” Pope said.

The state NAACP originated the marches during the Democratic administration of then-Gov. Bev Perdue. The protests should be directed against Democrats who, when in state leadership roles, were both corrupt and inept, Pope said. 

Large crowd, many issues

Backers of progressive causes from abortion rights to environmental regulation to expanded early voting were among those gathered Saturday.

Joyce said she hoped the size of the crowd would catch the attention of state lawmakers.

"If they see this crowd, if they are smart, they will listen," she said.

Messages spotted in the crowd included:

  • advocates for women's issues and Planned Parenthood protesting what they see as restrictions on abortion,
  • representatives of the AFL-CIO backing higher pay for fast-food workers,
  • a gay couple from Asheville on hand to protest the state's recent move to define marriage as only between one man and one woman,
  • signs advocating the expansion of Medicaid benefits in the state,
  • teachers and children demonstrating in favor of higher education funding,
  • environmental activists and opponents of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and
  • opposition to the new requirement that North Carolina voters show photo ID.

"This is not about liberals versus conservatives," Barber said. "It's about right versus wrong."



106 Comments

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  • srw4720 Feb 14, 2014

    Since the 2007 HM on J the Rev and his groups got 108 million dollars, that is tax payer's dollars from the then Dem General Assembly. His money was cut off in 2013 and he is mad. That is the only reason he marches. Call it Money Monday Marches.

  • Danny22 Feb 13, 2014

    What is really funny is these folks have been checking ID's of the marchers.

  • Hubris Feb 11, 2014

    "Tens of thousands representing a number of different political and social issues clogged Raleigh's Wilmington and Fayetteville streets for what planners dubbed the "Moral March."

    LOL "Tens of thousands" More like tens of hundreds or at most 1000 people.

    Just think about the logistics. That small area can't hold that many people. It would take weeks for Raleigh, Capitol and State police to organize such a huge rally. The claim is a just a lie.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 11, 2014

    View quoted thread


    We *hear* what you are saying, but *see* what you are doing:

    -Not expanding Medicaid and costing NC $12 Billion, which leaves tens of thousands of WORKING poor people without healthcare...just because they don't like Obama.

    -Requiring poor people to travel to a government agency, fill out government forms, obtain a government-issued card with their photo on it, retain said card forever...just so they can exercise their Constitutional Rights...because of some fantasy created by rightwingers that will keep thousands of poor and elderly from voting

    -Continuing to cut taxes for the ultra rich (to the lowest rates in several decades) at the detriment of the poor. Bread & gasoline costs the same to a Billionaire and a minimum-wage earner.

    ...and on and on

    IMO...all of THAT is "immoral" and THAT is why we are angry and marching...for the poor. It's called "do unto others as you would have done unto you."

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Feb 10, 2014

    "By the way, the pictures show alot of white people.....Im just saying" - darkhorse94

    That's true. Among the thousands of people in the Moral March, you can find whatever you're looking for, and a whole lot more. Don't be shy. What exactly was your point?

  • darkhorse94 Feb 10, 2014

    Headline rewrite: With the help of the NC liberal media, " Moral March advances variety of issues." Let's play find the most outrageous picket sign and depict the entire march around it.
    By the way, the pictures show alot of white people.....Im just saying.

  • darkhorse94 Feb 10, 2014

    Headline rewrite: With the help of the NC liberal media, " Moral March advances variety of issues." Let's play find the most outrageous picket sign and depict the entire march around it.
    By the way, the pictures show alot of white people.....Im just saying.

  • educgrad Feb 10, 2014

    So why did they bus in all these people who don't live in Raleigh or even in NC.Did they just pay these people to come ?

  • david46 Feb 10, 2014

    We all know why conservatives do no show up and whine and cry when the liberals are in charge. They are to busy at WORK. Some body has to pay the taxes so these moochers can collect their gov't cheese. And by the way all the ones that were bused in were told to be sure and have their ID's. Yet they are here to protest voter ID. Hypocritical?

  • mike275132 Feb 10, 2014

    Very "Moral" to :

    Kill Babies- "Abortion Rights".

    Homosexual "Marriage"

    More Welfare and dependency on government [ Hardworking taxpayers]"This is not about liberals versus conservatives," Barber said. "It's about right versus wrong."

    Well Barber you are correct there , although not in the way you think.

    It is about socialist ideology preached by the Democrats,

    And the most of NC Citizens and the principles that built this country.

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