The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday June 25th

NAACP chapters honored the civil rights leader

MLK Rally, March, and Worship Service from Peace and Justice Plaza to the First Baptist Church.
Buy Photos MLK Rally, March, and Worship Service from Peace and Justice Plaza to the First Baptist Church.

Chrissy Taylor spent her Monday morning singing in the name of equality.

Taylor, a member of the First Baptist Church gospel choir attended her first Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration rally Monday.

She said that because in her opinion, Chapel Hill hasn’t always been an equal place, it was important to come out and make a stand.

Crowds of people gathered in the Peace & Justice Plaza on Monday for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration.

The rally, which was hosted by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro and UNC chapters of the NAACP, preceded a peaceful march to the historic First Baptist Church on 106 N. Roberson St. in Chapel Hill. There, a service was held to honor the late civil rights activist.

One spectator, Will Hendrick from Chapel Hill, said Monday was his third time coming out for the rally and march.

“It’s really great on this day we set aside to remember the legacy of Dr. King and to build bridges in social and economic justice,” Hendrick said.

The rally featured performances by the church’s gospel choir and the Orange County chapter of the Raging Grannies, an activist a capella group composed of elderly women.

Rally speakers included former N.C. state Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, and current state Sen. Valerie Foushee, D-Orange, Chatham.

Kinnaird spoke out against what she sees as attacks on low-income families in the United States and North Carolina specifically.

Kinnaird said the state legislature is playing Robin Hood in reverse — crushing dreams of home ownership and making it difficult to receive loans for those who are in lower income brackets.

In honor of King’s dream for peace and equality, Kinnaird said advocates for economic equality would not give up.

“We’re going to raise minimum wage, provide health insurance and most importantly, make sure everyone can vote,” Kinnaird said. “We are doing what’s right at the right time.”

Foushee also spoke about King and the country’s ongoing struggles with poverty.

“We are serious about realizing the dream,” Foushee said.

Foushee said King predicted after equality and voting rights, the next struggle in the country would be the war on poverty.

Foushee said that on average, wages of African-Americans are significantly less than that of their white counterparts and millions of children in the United States live in poverty.

“The Republican Legislature is in a race to the bottom when it comes to education and teacher pay,” Foushee said.

The entire crowd joined her in chanting, “Forward together, not one step back.”

city@dailytarheel.com

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