North Carolina NAACP's HKonJ march for civil rights goes virtual due to the pandemic

The pandemic is forcing everyone to pivot these days, including the state NAACP having to move one of its biggest events online.

The North Carolina Forward Together Movement's Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) peacefully assembled via Zoom Saturday morning.

It began showing a slow processional of vehicles down South Street in Raleigh displaying powerful messages. One message read: "Stop Killing Us."

The event is the 15th year for the social justice movement.

For more than a decade, thousands marched for justice through downtown Raleigh ending at the General Assembly.

This year's virtual theme: Hope in Action, living a new world into existence.

"We must be mindful that there is a reality in front of us there's no going back to the way things were. The pandemic has cut us off from all of that. So we have to busy ourselves in living a new world into existence," said Rev. Dr. T Anthony Spearman, state NAACP president.

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The gathering joined hundreds of faith leaders and civil and human rights groups together, removing the pandemics' year-long barrier, so they could reenergize their spirits toward their common goal: justice and equality for people of color.

Organizers estimate 20,000 people watched the event, with Rev. Dr. William Barber's delivering the closing message, featuring a a poem about love.

"For justice, truth and peace to flow, love to has fruit to bear. United must become all four. And practiced everywhere," said Dr. Barber.

HKonJ is pushing for equitable policies in education, healthcare, housing, economics, immigration reform criminal justice, LGBTQ and environmental rights.

"We have to be those -- who are believers in bringing into existence things that don't yet appear. And that's what hope is," said Dr. Spearman

Organizers say it's possible HKonJ could be virtual again next year.
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