Thousands pack downtown Raleigh for annual HKonJ march, rally
Posted February 14, 2015
Updated February 16, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Economic sustainability, education and criminal justice were on the agenda Saturday when several of North Carolina's civil rights groups held an annual march and rally in downtown Raleigh.
The ninth annual HKonJ – Historic Thousands on Jones Street – began early Saturday morning when participants met in downtown Raleigh and marched to the Legislative Building on Jones Street.
Spearheaded by the state chapter of the NAACP, HKonJ includes more than 140 coalition groups. Many speakers were present for Saturday's event, including state NAACP head Rev. William Barber. National union and abortion-rights leaders also are expected to attend.
Barber has taken a prominent role challenging Republican policies of the legislature and Gov. Pat McCrory through "Moral Monday" demonstrations since 2013.
"I've come to announce today that we can't be quiet, not now, not ever," Barber said.
The NAACP's national president, Cornell Brooks, vowed to fight what he calls the state's voter suppression laws.
"We in fact say to them we will not give up, we will not give in, we will not give over," he said. "We will stand for our voting rights."
Maureen Galvin, a teacher from Durham, said she teaches her students to stand up for what they believe in.
"I feel like I should model that behavior," she said. "There seems to be a concerted effort to take away support for public schools. I think public schools are absolutely necessary."
The march organizers want election law changes repealed, Medicaid expanded and a constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage.