RALEIGH — As the crowd joined voices in “We Shall Overcome,” the sun emerged from the gloomy skies, warming the swaying marchers.
Organizers said it signaled a bright future for the movement, which is advocating for funding to public education, the expansion of Medicaid in the state and protecting the rights of immigrants, women and the LGBT community.
“Even the universe shines on this day,” said the Rev. William Barber II, president of the N.C. NAACP and main organizer of the Historic Thousands on Jones Street march in Raleigh on Saturday. He urged attendees to commit to helping to register voters, regardless of party affiliation, before Election Day.
He said the N.C. NAACP would continue to pursue legal options against the state’s new voting laws.
The Rev. Jemonde Taylor, a priest at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in Raleigh, said Sunday voting, often called “souls to the polls,” was widely used by people in his congregation — but Sunday voting was eliminated by the changes to the state’s voting law.
Taylor said he and 20 other ministers drafted a letter to send to more than 100 churches to encourage them to facilitate voter registration.
“(Voting) has been a mark of civil rights in this country for the past half century,” he said.
For protestors from other states, taking a step forward after the march means staging similar events back home.
“We’ve been super excited by the North Carolina Moral Monday movement,” said Roger Sikes, organizer with Atlanta Jobs with Justice, which advocates for fast food workers in Atlanta. “North Carolina has certainly built a model and a coalition that has obviously worked.”