Thousands attend 'Moral March' in Raleigh on host of issues
Posted February 11
Updated February 12
RALEIGH, N.C. — Thousands of people attended an annual civil rights march Saturday in Raleigh that in recent years has focused on fighting the conservative-leaning agenda in North Carolina state government.
But Saturday's 11th annual "Moral March on Raleigh" led by the state NAACP included speakers focused on opposition to actions by President Donald Trump, particularly on immigration. Other rallies held in Raleigh this year have been critical of Trump.
"There's too much going on in the world to keep staying silent," Tiffany Newkirk said.
Many said the current political climate — arguably one of the most contentious in recent history — is what drove them to come out and speak up.
"I'm here today just because silence is being content with the status quo," Erin Newkirk said. "All my life I've kind of been reserved and shy. And introverts are out."
Saturday's protesters planned to push for the repeal of House Bill 2, which limits LGBT rights and which bathrooms transgender people can use. Other topics included opposition to gerrymandering in redistricting and to the repeal of former President Barack Obama's health care overhaul as well as how they feel about the current administration.
The march began near Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium and ended near the old Capitol Building.
"People are starting to finally pay more attention and say 'Hey, politics does matter and I think that's a good thing. It's what the republic needs'," Bryan Parsons said.
While massive crowds filled the streets, not everyone is fond of the rally or what it represents. North Carolina Republican Party director Dallas Woodhouse said these views are not those supported by the majority of the state.
"It is a far left agenda that would massively raise taxes on the citizens of North Carolina, increase regulations and hurt job creation in North Carolina," Woodhouse said.
Despite varying views, many said there is one thing they can agree on — a lot more people are paying attention.
"I don't think we are going to go back to sleep. We the people are awake and we are going to stay awake," Paula Hope said.
"You know you come to things like this," Tiffany Newkirk said. "And maybe it doesn't change anything but it changes you. And that's why I keep rallying and keep marching."