GREENVILLE, N.C. — Fifty East Carolinians showed up today at the Greenville, NC office of Congressman Walter B. Jones, Jr. (R-3rd NC District) to deliver a message about voting rights, affordable health care, and treating immigrants humanely.
The NAACP was the primary organizer of the event, although representatives of other organizations such as the Forward Together Moral Movement (Rev. Dr. William Barber’s social justice group), the Fight for $15, the Citizens Climate Lobby, and CPUSA-NC also took part.
A list of six demands was prepared to deliver to Rep. Jones. The demands were:
- Vote against the repeal of the life-saving Affordable Care Act that millions of North Carolinians depend on.
- Oppose any executive orders or legislation that will deport our immigrant brothers and sisters.
- Restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act now.
- Oppose any executive orders or legislation that will ban or attack refugees or Muslims.
- Publicly renounce the lies about voter fraud and oppose the widespread voter suppression spreading across the country.
- Support our call for living wages and union rights.
There was also a request for Rep. Jones to hold a town hall meeting with his constituents before the end of March so that these concerns could be discussed.
Some of the participants had individual copies of the letter to give to Rep. Jones’ staff, while others signed a copy that was passed around while the group chanted, displayed various signs, and listened to a brief speech by Reginald Barrett, First Vice President of the Pitt County chapter of the NAACP. Then as many members of the group who could fit, walked into Rep. Jones’ office and delivered the signed copies of the letter. About 15 of the group had to wait just outside the office as there was not enough room for everyone to go in.
There were people from across much of Rep. Jones’ district on hand, including Pitt, Craven, Jones, Carteret and Pamlico counties, many of whom drove a considerable distance to be there. The rally was multi-racial and multi-generational, with the youngest participant just a babe in arms.
Rep. Jones was not present to accept the letter in person. One reporter asked a participant, “Congressman Jones has not held a town hall meeting in over 20 years. Why ask for one now?” She answered, “Because Congressman Jones hasn’t held a town meeting in over 20 years. He needs to hear what we have to say.”
The rally was one of many happening at congressional and senatorial offices across North Carolina today. The rallies were held at offices of Democrats as well as Republicans.
People’s World talked to one attender, a middle-aged woman who has never been to any events like this prior to the Women’s March on January 21st. Since then, she has also attended the Moral March on Raleigh on Feb. 11th. She said she plans to keep active. “It’s going to be a long 4 years, but we can’t give up. We have to keep the pressure on. They have to know what we think.”
Eastern North Carolina is a rural area dotted with farms, small towns, and large areas of forest and swamp. For 50 people of all ages to show up in one of those towns for this action, on a Monday afternoon, from miles away, is a significant statement about the determination of those present to stand up for justice.
News media, including the WNCT TV station and others, were on hand to record the event.