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Thousands rally for civil rights in downtown Raleigh

Posted February 11, 2012

— Thousands of people supporting civil rights causes in North Carolina took part in the sixth annual Historic Jones Street people's assembly march Saturday morning in downtown Raleigh seeking to promote unity ahead of a big election year.

Representatives from more 125 organizations gathered on South Street at Shaw University around 9:30 a.m. before marching to Jones Street outside the Legislative Building for a rally. 

Omisade Scott has participated in the march for the last three years.

"What keeps me coming out is that we are still dealing with systemic oppression," Scott said. "Immigrant rights are a huge issue this year. Voter suppression with the upcoming issue is a huge issue. Education is an ongoing issue."

National NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous spoke at the rally, citing the early American motto printed on U.S. currency that out of many the country can become one. 

Jealous and North Carolina NAACP head William Barber touched on themes popularized by the Occupy Wall Street movement that most Americans could improve their future by voting out politicians who favor the wealthy.

Civil rights demonstrators flood downtown Raleigh Civil rights demonstrators flood downtown Raleigh

Both said the majority lose when politicians use wedge issues to divide people, citing the example of a proposed amendment to the North Carolina constitution that would enshrine state laws barring gay marriage.

Voters will consider that constitutional amendment in May.

Barber said the state legislature is a house "out of order."

"God says hope is better than despair," he said. "No matter how they smile as they do their wrong ...  we are here today because we know there's a better way."

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  • Hubris Feb 13, 2012

    "What keeps me coming out is that we are still dealing with systemic oppression," Scott said. "Immigrant rights are a huge issue this year. Voter suppression with the upcoming issue is a huge issue. Education is an ongoing issue.""

    The systemic oppression is all in these people's heads. I agree with [ILLEGAL] Immigrant rights are a huge issue. What Voter Suppression??? Who is suppressing whose votes??? Where's the proof? Education (pay for my education, more like it) is an issue.

    These people have been worked up into a frenzy by Jealous and Barber so they can keep living from others discontent.

  • rdcress Feb 13, 2012

    Interesting that while railing against divisiveness they are practicing exactly what they preach against. They alienate the middle class because they seek to rob the middle class just like the elite rob the middle class while buying the votes of the lower income class. Same old song and dance. you can't preserve your revenue stream with unity and harmony, but uniting against the middle class while professing to attack the elite secures much funding and many donations. These people don't even keep their stories straight. How about working to prevent voter fraud and protecting the rights of legal citizens. They talk about immigrant rights but ignore the rights of the legal citizens. No, no human being is illegal but their acts certainly can be! Sadly there are many who still buy into their vitriol.

  • kermit60 Feb 13, 2012

    Causing division! Obama is the master at that. Only when these people get all they want at someone elses expense will they quit say that everything is equal.

  • piene2 Feb 13, 2012

    It looks like it was a great turnout. I would have loved to attend but was out of town, maybe next year.

  • nowon_yuno Feb 13, 2012

    FTA: "Voter suppression...huge issue."

    It sure is, I remember stories about the Black Panter Party intimidating voters during the last presidental election. Nothing was done about that of course.