Thousands march for HK on J

February 13, 2011 6:55:56 AM PST
Thousands filled the streets of downtown Raleigh on Saturday for the annual "HK on J," or, "Historic Thousands on Jones Street" march.

The theme for this year's event was "Forward Ever, Backwards Never."

Members of the NAACP and representatives from 90 various organizations came together to address issues ranging from diversity in Wake County schools to worker's rights, jobs and the justice system.

National NAACP President Ben Jealous came to Raleigh to take part. Jealous has been very focused on the diversity battle in Wake County schools.

The NAACP and other groups are upset with a 2010 decision by the school board to scrap a plan that aimed to achieve socio-economic balance in county schools. They say ending the policy amounts to resegregation.

"This is a movement to fix the schools. It's also a movement to heal our country," said Jealous.

School board leaders have defended the move to end the diversity policy as an attempt to allow children to attend schools that are close to home.

North Carolina NAACP president Reverend William Barber said Jealous's interest shows how important the issue is.

"Our fight in Wake County against resegregation should be our fight throughout the nation," said Barber in a statement. "We will never back away from our struggle to ensure that every child has access to a high quality, constitutional, well funded and diverse public education."

The marchers walked from Shaw University down Jones Street to the North Carolina State Legislature building.

Organizers said the event was all-inclusive.

"You look out in that crowd and you see white and black, you see Jew and Muslim, you see young and old. That's what people in this country believe in most, that we can be united. We can be one people," Jealous offered.

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