Rally focuses on social issues|Saturday event promotes unity, equality and justice

Published 12:39 am Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lifestyles & Features Editor

Sharing such messages as promoting the well-being of all people in Beaufort County and giving young people equal opportunities in education, approximately 50 local residents gathered Saturday morning for the inaugural Rally for Justice.
The gathering, held in the Beaufort County Courthouse, was sponsored by the Beaufort County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, AMEXCAN, Blounts Creek Development Corporation, Eastern North Carolina Latin-American Coalition, Latino Youth Action, Organizing for America, Paracletus Life Enrichment Services, Progressive Democrats of Beaufort County and the Single Parents Tenants Association.
“We feel that by coming together we can address the various issues more so than by being apart,” said Bill Booth, president of the Beaufort County NAACP. “We’re all about social justice.”
Social justice is not a black and white issue, Booth said. Saturday’s rally was another step toward getting people to look past someone’s background or the color of their skin.
The organizers of Rally for Justice were inspired by a similar event held in Raleigh earlier this year, said Ann Cherry of Washington. She’s a member of the NAACP and serves as secretary of Progressive Democrats of Beaufort County.
The Raleigh event — called Historic Thousands on Jones Street — brings together various organizations promoting the importance of unity and equality.
“We decided to have a rally here with items related specifically to Beaufort County, like housing and river access,” Cherry said. “We’re going to make this an annual event.”
Organizers promoted what is called the People’s Agenda for 2009. This includes the preservation of the area’s natural resources; providing county-wide recreational programs and facilities; promoting decent, affordable housing; increasing public access to local waterways; protecting immigrant rights; and improving educational programs and increasing multicultural representation on teaching faculties and administrative staffs in the public schools.
“We’re all humans,” Cherry said. “We never help ourselves when we hurt somebody else.”
Cherry, a former school teacher, said she became involved in social issues after she retired.
“Maybe I figured this out while teaching,” she said. “I’m interested in civil rights and social justice, and I have the time now to participate and help change things.”
*For more information about Rally for Justice, contact Booth at 252-945-5355 or alphalife1@yahoo.com, or Cherry at 252-945-1666 or AnnCherry2009@gmail.com.