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"Selma-Sized" Movement to Descend on North Carolina Capitol

PHOTO: Thousands are expected in Raleigh on Saturday for daylong Moral March events, including the annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) People's Assembly March to the North Carolina Legislature. Photo courtesy: HKonJ.com
PHOTO: Thousands are expected in Raleigh on Saturday for daylong Moral March events, including the annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) People's Assembly March to the North Carolina Legislature. Photo courtesy: HKonJ.com
February 12, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. - Thousands of North Carolinians will celebrate what they call their "love for justice" this Valentine's Day weekend in Raleigh.

The Moral March on Raleigh was born out of the annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) People's Assembly March to the North Carolina Legislature.

Now in its ninth year, the event has grown into a multi-day event encompassing education, health, economic justice and women's policies issues, according to Emma Akpan, a field organizer with Planned Parenthood.

"If the legislature is going to attack one of us, you're going to attack all of us," she says. "To me, that's what this march means, standing in solidarity with all of our communities, so they know that they can't divide us anymore."

While organizers are uncertain of exactly how many will attend this weekend, more than 150 coalition groups are involved. Akpan says she and others are particularly engaged because 2015 is an odd-numbered year, and according to the state constitution, the legislature will have a longer session and cover more issues than in an even-numbered year.

Organizers also are working to include younger voters in the march with a Friday night "sleep over" where concerned young people can gather to discuss issues impacting them. Bryan Perlmutter, director of Ignite NC, is one of the event organizers.

"Too often in our movements, young people are left out of the decision-making process of how to strategize and what to move forward in," says Perlmutter. "This is a space just for young people from across the state to come together."

Akpan says the Moral March movement now goes beyond party lines, and participants are united by a common goal of policies that support education, health care, voters' rights and other issues.

"We're not divided by issues anymore because we understand the intricacies of each issue and how most of us are affected by them," says Akpan.

The march gets underway Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Following the march the first statewide #BlackLivesMatter youth assembly will get underway at nearby Shaw University.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC