He's 12 years old Elijah Lee, a young activist who traveled from Roanoke Rapids with his mother and sister for the 14th annual gathering on Fayetteville Street, and he came with a message for all who read this: "When we are talking about not only voting rights for our future generations but also the safety for every young person. Whether you are black, white, biracial or whether you come from the richest home to the poorest."
That's one of the themes of every Moral March, mentioned on this day by North Carolina NAACP president T. Anthony Spearman: "So we dare not sleep through this upcoming election! We have to get out the vote.."
Lee's work as an activist in his hometown, raising awareness of children who suffer in silence after they're victims of child abuse, got the attention of documentary producers with the Marvel division of Disney, parent company of ABC11. You can see their short film "Incredible Elijah" about Lee on Disney+ under the Marvel tab, as part of the Hero Project.
On the day we met, Lee posed for a picture with the Reverend William Barber and mentioned other adult activists who inspire him.
"We know that people like Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Davis, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale all marched with a torch. They walked with that torch. And our young people are ready to take that path and ready to run with it. Saying that we will get our rights," he said. "The color of our skin will not decide if we will vote or not. We will decide who our president is. We will decide who our legislative people are. We will decide who our judicial system people are."
Lee's planning his own demonstration back in his hometown, his third annual march to raise awareness of child abuse. The march scheduled on March 7 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Centennial Park.
He's still about six years away from his first opportunity to vote in an election, but already has career plans; he wants to be a lawyer.
"I hope to continue to fight, no matter what the weather is. No matter how cold or how hot it is, I plan to fight to make sure that we get to the mountaintop," said Lee. "Not only for my generation but for generations to come."
March organizers say members of more than 125 North Carolina NAACP branches, youth councils and college chapters participated, along with members of more than 200 social justice organizations.