Wilson Pava – Between 20 and 80 thousand people marched in the North Carolina NAACP’s HKonJ march, short for Historic Thousand on J Street, last Saturday in Raleigh. The march is the state NAACP’s biggest event of the year. Part of the Moral Mondays movement, the march sought bring together various political goals under the umbrella of morality.
The five main goals of the march were those usually associated with the Democratic Party. Rev. Dr. William Barber II, President of the NC NAACP, was the last person to address the crowd. During his address, he outlined the importance of combining goals like the protection of voting rights, the fight for a $15 minimum wage, public education funding, LGBTQ rights, and refugee acceptance, among others.
For a religiously backed and morally focused march, the crowd was vastly different from what might be expected. The march brought together people of all different backgrounds. Many issues were well represented, chants of “Black Lives Matter” were frequently heard after “refugees are welcome here” and other chants representative of the issue movements that have become even more active since the election of President Trump.
The march was ideologically varied, including people that proudly carried flags of Marxist icon Che Guevara and signs for the Democratic Socialists of America alongside military veterans from wars from both this century and the one preceding it.
College Democrats and Planned Parenthood Generation Action teamed up to provide transportation for almost 40 students to attend the march. Davidson was also represented by various professors that also attended the march and the rally that preceded it.
Marching side by side with professors provided students with an opportunity to see the real-world application of the life lessons many professors teach in their classes.
Students are used to reading about how student movements have brought about real change all over the world, as well as the important role that professors and teachers have in these movements. However, few have really had the experience of actually marching with their professors.
Protesting alongside professors also validates the feeling that by going out students are making a tangible difference. On the street at HKonJ, it felt as if a crowd that large could could, if channeled in the right directions, make lasting and positive change.
“It was invigorating to be part of a mass united in resistance to divisive rhetoric and oppressive policies,” said Andres Ramos ’17, President of the College Democrats.
This is a feeling that many protesters have felt, and a feeling that many of the people in Raleigh this weekend expect to feel frequently during the Trump administration.