VIDEO Story: Student speaks to “Historic Thousands on Jones Street”

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N.C. Central University students were among several thousand North Carolinians who braved the cold on Saturday, Feb. 13, to march on the N.C. Capitol Building for the 10th Annual “Historic Thousands on Jones Street,” also called “HKonJ.”

Protesters gather in the cold at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in preperation for the 10th Annual HKonJ rally. Photo By: Kenneth Campbell/Staff Photographer
Protesters gather in the cold at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in preperation for the 10th Annual HKonJ rally. Photo By: Kenneth Campbell/Staff Photographer

English senior Rebekah Barber organized free transportation for students from the campus to Raleigh for the march with the help of the Rev. Gloria Winston-Harris, from the NCCU Office of Spiritual Development.

The assembly started at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium and moved through downtown Raleigh for a rally in front of the Capitol Building.

Speakers from various activist organizations, including N.C. NAACP President the Rev. William Barber, criticized the actions of the Republican majority in the N.C. State Legislature.

HKonJ protesters march through downtown Raleigh towards the North Carolina State Capitol Building.
HKonJ protesters march through downtown Raleigh towards the North Carolina State Capitol Building. Photo By: Kenneth Campbell/Staff Photographer

HKonJ protesters addressed a wide array of political issues as they marched against the N.C. legislature’s conservative stance on issues of gay rights, women’s rights, racism, immigration, police brutality and economic inequality – however voting rights was the primary focus of the protest.

History and political science freshman Ajamu Dillahunt addressed the assembly. Dillahunt urged the crowd to recognize the linkages between issues, such as suppression of the African-American vote and inadequate HBCU funding.

He recognized women’s leadership role within the Black Lives Matter Movement and also highlighted the struggle for LGBT acceptance. Dillahunt ended his address with the affirmation that “None of us are free until all of us are free.”

As a political organizer with Black Workers for Justice and Ignite NC, Dillahunt said it was his duty as an HBCU student to come out in support of the people’s assembly moral movement.

NCCU social work senior Shakera Obrey and english senior Rebekah Barber march through downtown Raleigh as a part of the 10th Annual HKonJ People's Assembly.
NCCU social work senior Shakera Obrey and english senior Rebekah Barber march through downtown Raleigh as a part of the 10th Annual HKonJ People’s Assembly. Photo By: Kenneth Campbell/Staff Photographer

“I’ve been coming out here since I was a little kid,” said Dillahunt. “Now I’m into this movement and have a passion for it. So I came out to ensure that they understood why all black lives matter.”

Confusion surrounding the new N.C. Voter ID law, which took effect at the start of the year, has been met with accusations of voter suppression by the protesters.

The reoccurring theme of HKonJ was the urgency of informing citizens about the law and voting rights, as well as the importance of organizing to overturn the law.

Kenneth Campbell is the multimedia news editor of the Campus Echo, NCCU ABJ President, and Lambda Pi Eta Public Relations Chair. He is a mass communication senior with a concentration in media studies & has a strong interests in multimedia storytelling. In the future, he plans to establish a multimedia production company.

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