Thousands rally for civil rights in downtown Raleigh
Posted February 11, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. — 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.
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."