Local leaders of the Lincoln County Branch of the NAACP gathered Friday afternoon to discuss details during a press conference for the “Taking the Dream Home to Lincolnton” rally happening Wednesday evening.
Part of the “Forward Together” and “Moral Monday” movements, the rally will be one of 13 taking place simultaneously across the state to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington and to protest several laws recently passed by the Republican-controlled N.C. General Assembly.
Beginning at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Lincoln County Courthouse, the event will feature a “surprise guest” and several speakers, including a video address by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina NAACP and leader of the statewide movement.
Lincolnton was chosen as the site of the 10th Congressional District’s event, and NAACP representatives from Asheville present for Friday’s press conference at the Lincoln Cultural Center said they will be bringing a couple of busloads of people to participate.
Organizers are also coordinating with other municipalities throughout the district, including Gastonia and Hickory.
The movement began with weekly protests in Raleigh on each Monday of the legislative session, during which thousands gathered and hundreds were arrested over the course of 13 weeks.
With the session now over, leaders of the movement have vowed to bring the demonstrations to legislators’ home districts.
A press release from the county’s NAACP states that “Lincolnton will heed Dr. King’s call at the end of his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech to go home and organize.”
“The 10th District will come together to speak out about voting rights, public education, health care, women’s rights and the denial of unemployment benefits,” Lincoln County NAACP Branch President Debra Williams said.
Williams, who began serving as president of the local unit in January, said Wednesday’s rally will be an “event of a lifetime.”
“The N.C. General Assembly and our (U.S. Congress) representative, Patrick McHenry, have made a mockery of what our forefathers have died and fought for,” she said. ” … They changed the North Carolina tax codes to favor the wealthy; they attacked public education and school teachers, women’s rights, labor rights and voting rights.”
Also in attendance for Friday’s discussions were NAACP District Two Director Mary Degree and Rev. Franklin Lowery of Gold Hill Baptist Church in Stanley.
Degree noted that the protest movement has “nothing to do with party lines,” but is rather about the issues and the “rights of mankind.”
“Sometimes storms come to move us to a place where we need to be,” Lowery added.
For more information on Wednesday’s rally, call the local NAACP unit at (704) 268-9419.