Saturday, 10 February 2007

NAACP, Other Activists Call For Lawmaker's Attention

NAACP, Other Activists Call For Lawmaker's Attention

Historic K on Jones Street Sing-Along
In an effort to finish what civil rights activists started 50 years ago, thousands marched through downtown Raleigh Saturday to the legislative building.

Free to speak their minds, the ralliers questioned whether lawmakers are listening. Led by the NAACP, about 60 community groups gathered scores of people and marched to Jones Street, home of North Carolina's General Assembly, under the slogan of “Not A Moment, But A Movement.”

“It's not just today, not just a feel-good march. We're going to go to the legislature, we're going to go to Congress, we'll go to whoever has the power to bring about change because our community's in crisis,” said NAACP president Dr. Jarvis Hall.

The organizers made a list of proposed changes called “The People’s Agenda.” Topping that list was working towards a stronger education system in North Carolina. Specifically, they want money for poor school districts as ordered by the state Supreme Court in the Leandro case.

“it makes no sense that we have not fully funded Leandro after 10 years,” said Rev. William Barber, president of the state’s NAACP chapter.

Also on the list were hot topics like getting rid of the death penalty
, pulling troops out of Iraq, affordable healthcare for all, livable wages, and affordable housing.

One question lawmakers have asked is how much those programs would cost. Organizers said they’re in the process of crunching the numbers, but countered with a question of their own -- what does it cost not to offer these programs?

“Everything we have on this agenda could be done this year,” Barber said. “So what we intend to do is insert it this session and push it and push it.”

On March 28, the group will crowd the halls of the General Assembly. They plan to bring 1,000 lobbyists to get lawmakers' attention.

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