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Keeping the Dream of "Jobs and Freedom" alive in NC

Jeremy Sprinkle
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13 simultaneous rallies held across the state

On Wednesday, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, North Carolinians heeded his call to go home and organize by holding simultaneous rallies in all 13 congressional districts.

Speaking at the rally in Raleigh, state AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer MaryBe McMillan said workers "want what we have earned, what we deserve, and, believe me, we deserve so much more than crumbs and condescension."

"Gov. McCrory and our legislators need to understand that we don’t want cookies. We don’t want cake. We want a bigger piece of the pie. That’s what we are fighting for."

Read the News & Observer's coverage of "Taking the Dream Home" in Raleigh and Chapel Hill.

Nearly 400 people filled the square Wednesday in front of the Chapel Hill Post Office. Police closed one lane of Franklin Street, the town’s main drag, shortly after the rally began to accommodate the crowd.

The Raging Grannies, a group of older female activists, opened up the rally recalling the words of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Read the Associated Press' statewide coverage.

The Republican legislature “has blatantly taken care of those with the most,” said MaryBe McMillan with the North Carolina AFL-CIO, pointing to a tax code overhaul and eliminating the earned-income tax credit. “We believe in the dream of equal opportunity and shared prosperity for everyone. … We make it absolutely clear that we will not be quiet, we will not go away. We will not rest until that dream becomes reality.”

Read NC State University's coverage for the Technician.

Although the crowd at this event was not in the thousands, as several of the Moral Monday crowds had been, MaryBe McMillan, secretary-treasurer of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO and a speaker at the rally, said she was impressed with the showing.

“When you take into account that there’s a rally in Chapel Hill and in 13 other places, it’s a good crowd,” McMillan said.

McMillan said that that people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds were banding together because they were unhappy with their leaders in the government.

“We see all these attacks on workers in this state–cutting unemployment benefits, denying Medicaid, attacking workers right to organize and our voting rights—and it’s very important that all of us stand together, because that’s the only way we can affect change here,” McMillan said.

What's the future of our "Forward Together Movement" in North Carolina?

As the Forward Together Movement hosted 13 simultaneous "Bring the Dream Home" rallies across North Carolina, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II answered questions on the Movement's sustainability and how success will be measured.

Watch the video:

Rev. Barber cautioned that the effects of the General Assembly's immoral agenda are only beginning to be felt across the state, and people are waking up to what has been done to them.

"The pain is gonna produce the power. That's the strange thing about evil. Whenever it overreaches, that which people mean for evil always produces good."