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Moral March unites many struggles
Annually, the NAACP in North Carolina holds a march known as the Historic Thousands on Jones Street under the leadership of Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II. The march was situated near the center of downtown Raleigh near Shaw University, with major bank skyscrapers positioned less than five blocks from working class homes. This year the march fell on Feb. 8. Building on the momentum of the weekly "Moral Monday" protests in Raleigh, the "Moral March" drew an unprecedentedly large crowd.
To handle the large influx of people coming to this event, the NAACP ran trams to ferry protestors to the march assembly site. The diversity of the march was staggering, with at least four major focus groups being immediately visible from any point in the protest. Activists for LGBTQ rights and women's health, progressive Christians, voting rights and civil rights activists, even those supporting cannabis legalization were present to fight against the oppressive government under the Republican government of North Carolina. It was immediately clear that the people of this state and beyond are being attacked on all fronts, and those attacks have caused a powerful reaction.
The density of the marchers was staggering. USA today estimates that between 80-100 thousand people were mobilized, mostly from North Carolina, but some from beyond. For reference, the population of North Carolina is only about 9.8 million, meaning that almost 1 percent of the population was mobilized at this one event. It is being called the largest NAACP protest since the Selma to Montgomery marches in the 1960s.
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Photo by Thomas Parsons: Banners and signs show the diversity of the Feb. 8 march in Raleigh.