Every February since 2006, the different units of the NC NAACP gather with other NC organizations to form the Historic Thousands on Jones Street, or HKonJ.
HKonJ is an event in Raleigh that consists of a rally and march for different issues of social justice, ending at the State Capitol downtown.
“It’s important that we stand for what we believe in our own town,” said Anna Richards, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro unit of the NAACP. “That’s where the action really happens.”
Richards said this year the main issues the event will focus on are voting rights, education equality, economic stability, equal protection under the law and healthcare for everyone.
“Medicare expansion is extremely key in our state and I think that we have a real chance now with the new governor of doing that,” she said. “So I think these are issues that mean a lot to our community.”
Laurel Ashton is the field secretary for the NC NAACP. She said this year’s march will be different because the organizations will be focusing on national issues, as well as issues at the state level.
“We are standing against the extremism and lies of Trumpism, which has been made very clear in the last week,” Ashton said. “So we are against what is in effect the ban on many Muslims and refugees that has gone into place; we’re standing against the wall on our Mexican border; we’re standing against the regressive federal appointments that have been made and just the overall attack on our democracy.”
Last year, about 50,000 participated in the rally and march, but this year Richards said she hopes to double that number because, she said, HKonJ is for everyone.
“We see lots of families, strollers. We see people in wheelchairs. So it’s something that most people can do,” she said. “And then we get an opportunity to hear from Reverend Barber as well as many other faith leaders. It’s really a collaboration.”
The event is Saturday, and begins with a rally with different speakers on the corner of Wilmington and South Streets in Raleigh at 9 A.M. After the rally, participants will begin the march to the Capitol at 10 A.M.