Thousands of people took to the streets of Raleigh Saturday in an annual march and rally designed to call for action on social and economic justice issues in North Carolina.
The 14th annual “Mass Moral March on Raleigh" drew support from the state NAACP, over 200 other organizations and their supporters.
Participants marched to the old Capitol building for a 14-point “People’s Agenda” that includes laws that expand health care coverage, create livable wages, redress racial wrongs and grant collective bargaining for government employees.
The event began in 2007 with the leadership of then-state NAACP president the Rev. William Barber of Goldsboro, who is now president of the national organization Repairers of the Breach.
From the dozens of signs and banners people carried during the march, a clear message emerged: Change starts at the ballot box.
“I’m tired of crying. I’m tired of mourning, and I’m going to fight with love,” Barber told the crowd. “I’m going to fight with truth. I’m going to fight with marching. I’m going to fight at the ballot box. ... It’s time to vote. It’s time to intensify and embolden your agitation.”
The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that Barber and other speakers spoke about a wide-ranging set of social, economic and environmental issues, from the detention of undocumented immigrants to coal ash contamination. While many speakers focused on the policies of President Donald Trump, a significant portion also pointed at the Republican-controlled N.C. General Assembly, particularly concerning voting rights.
Organizers said roughly 30,000 people attended the event.
At one point, the group filled almost all of the 100 block of Fayetteville Street, carrying signs with messages such as “Racist statues gotta go,” “Medicare for y’all” and “End anti-trans violence.”