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Thousands Expected to March in Raleigh on Saturday

February 9, 2012

RALEIGH, N.C. - Thousands are expected to march Saturday in the state capital as part of the annual HK on J March.

In its sixth year, HK on J, which stands for Historic Thousands on Jones Street, aims to make voters aware of issues which could impact state programs and citizens' rights. Organizers say this will be a big year for North Carolina when it comes to issues such as education, voting and civil rights. With North Carolina one of a handful of crucial states in this year's presidential election and with the governor's seat up for grabs, voter turnout is key.

Melvin Montford, executive director of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, says the stakes are high this year in the Tar Heel State.

"It's a responsibility, and we're just hoping that all the citizens of North Carolina take that responsibility seriously and come out to the march, listen to the issues and come out and vote."

The marriage amendment is another reason H-K-on J participants are asking people to get out the vote. The marchers also hope to highlight the lack of job creation in this tough economy. Still other issues are potential Medicare cuts and high heating and fuel costs, according to Doug Dickerson, AARP-North Carolina state policy director.

"All of these things are bearing down on people in a bad economy. These are symptoms of the lack of jobs. It comes down to we've got to grow employment."

The organizers' 14-point plan includes equality in education, environmental justice, immigrant rights, affordable housing and more.

Organizers expect at least 10,000 to attend Saturday's event, which begins at 9:30 a.m. More than 125 organizations will be represented in the march. The NAACP initiated the first march six years ago, and its national president, Ben Jealous, is expected to attend.

More information is online at hkonj.com.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC