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NAACP 'Journey for Justice' marches through North Carolina

Posted August 30, 2015 7:03 p.m. EDT
Updated August 30, 2015 7:45 p.m. EDT

— The “Journey for Justice,” an NAACP march that began in Selma, Ala. and will conclude in Washington D.C., arrived in North Carolina this weekend.

There was a flag in front and foot powder below for those who have walked the more than 500 mile journey from Selma, Ala.

“I haven’t had any blisters so far,” said participant Sheila Bell of Detroit.

Bell said that she is walking in memory of unarmed black men who were killed by police.

“What was driving me is that I’m tired of people killing my babies,” said Bell. “I want to go to D.C. and say I love America, we can do better, and we can pass laws that would decrease the number of people who are killed while in police custody.”

Leslie Boyd of Asheville just joined the Journey for Justice on Sunday. She said that she is walking in memory of her son, who died because he was denied health care.

“If I feel like it, when we hit Virginia, I’m going to keep going,” said Boyd.

The group continues to walk north, on U.S. 1 through Marston and Hoffman and Pine Bluff to Fayetteville, Lillington, and Raleigh. They’re more than half-way to their destination, but the journey doesn’t end there. It goes beyond D.C., with the steps they take in their communities.

“That’s as important as the march,” said Bell. “In my eyes, it’s even more important.”

They walk in the footsteps of civil rights crusaders from decades past and through a state where voting rights are on trial. A judge is supposed to rule on three federal lawsuits that claim a 2013 state law was designed to stamp out the minority vote.

“We’re calling everybody together,” said Reverend Curtis Gatewood of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP. “All hands on deck because we refuse to go backwards on voting rights, or any rights.”

Bob Finch from Sanford joined the group for the day. He said he is walking to take a stand on voting rights and environmental issues including the dumping of coal ash and fracking.

Rasheed Ali of South Carolina has been walking for four days and says the purpose of the walk is to bring attention to important causes.

“As our momentum grows, we just want the people to see us out here and join us,” said Ali.

The group will spend 10 days in North Carolina, walking more than 200 miles. A rally is planned for Thursday afternoon at the State Capitol.