Thousands participate in annual ‘Moral March on Raleigh’

Thousands participate in annual ‘Moral March on Raleigh’

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) - The rainy weather did not dampen the spirits of thousands of people who marched through downtown Raleigh Saturday morning.

The Moral March on Raleigh is the North Carolina NAACP'S biggest march of the year.

New North Carolina NAACP President Reverend T. Anthony Spearman says the march is about sending a message to lawmakers.

"We are in a corrosive period of our history and our nation and many of the legislators are seeking to divide and conquer the masses," Spearman said. "Well, we're proving to them that they're not going to be able to do that. Not on our watch."

The Moral March on Raleigh and HK on J People's Assembly is in its 12th year.

Spearman says one of their main goals is getting more people registered to vote, and then following up to make sure they make it to the polls.

Also on his agenda is criminal justice reform, immigration reform, and raising the minimum wage.

"We're hoping and praying that our voices will be heard by those who need to hear our voices," said Spearman.

For people like Noah Ambrose, the march is personal.

"I'm here because I am a gay man and I'm an LGBT activist, so expanding LGBT rights is my primary focus," Ambrose said.

Many so-called "dreamers" were also in attendance on Saturday, including 17-year-old Dariana Valencia. She says with DACA still hanging in the balance, she had to make her voice heard.

"They keep on throwing it back and forth," Valencia said. "It's not people that are here to make it a horrible country. We want to make this economy grow."

Spearman says the fight is still far from over but says seeing thousands of people from every background come together gives him hope for the future.

"It definitely gives you hope and certainly it enthuses and inspires me to keep on running ahead to see what the ends going to bring," said Spearman.

CBS North Carolina reached out to the North Carolina Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse.

He sent a statement that reads in part, "It is disappointing that the speakers at this Democrat Party rally could not celebrate the best North Carolina economy in two decades, the lowest black unemployment ever recorded, and record investments in public education including the highest teacher pay raises the state has ever seen."