RALEIGH — Hundreds of people gathered at Shaw University on Saturday, chanting and singing hymns to promote education reform for the state.
The Historic Thousands on Jones Street event, also known as HK on J, is an annual march to the state legislature led by the N.C. NAACP to present its 14-point agenda.
This year, the crowd focused on education reform and protested against the resegregation of public schools.
“This movement is not just based on a moment; this movement is not just based on emotion,” said Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP. “We know what we’re talking about, and we know what needs to happen.”
The 14-point agenda includes issues such as fighting discrimination, reforming health care, immigrant rights, sentencing and prison reform, environmental justice and livable wages for workers.
The diverse, energetic crowd was made up of people ranging from elderly to infant, from retirees to students and included people of different races.
“We’re trying to show that diversity is not just a small thing. It’s as important as math and science,” said Jocelyn Wilson, a junior at William G. Enloe High School in Raleigh, who was one of the speakers on Jones Street.
Wilson spoke against recent discussions by the Wake County school board that might lead to resegregation of public schools.
About 60 students from UNC made the trip to Raleigh for the event, said Brian Allison, president of the UNC NAACP branch.
“I’m just glad students came to do it,” Allison said. “It’s great we were able to have solidarity with people from across the state who are affected by these issues.”
Participants lifted posters with slogans like “Health insurance reform now,” “Fix the banks” and “Stop resegregation of public schools.”
“Large groups of people getting together is one of the only ways to affect our legislature,” said Jim Gulledge, a sophomore philosophy and political science double major.
Students who participated in the march said it was important to stay involved in state-related issues.
“It’s an important day to stand for social justice with thousands of people from across the state,” said bull horn-toting Ben Carroll, a senior sociology major. “We have strength in our unity.”
“We try to support social causes and stay abreast of social injustices,” said Daniele Dickerson, a junior English major. “We heard about this and wanted to show our support.”
The event was supposed to be held on Feb. 13 but was rescheduled due to the weather.
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