A group, organized by Saint David’s Episcopal Church in Jackson County, took off Monday morning heading toward Raleigh to join in the action. The 20 or so people came from Swain, Jackson and Haywood counties. As activist church member Ron Robinson stated, it was an easy choice to go to Raleigh after lawmakers didn’t return phone calls he made expressing his concerns.
“A lot of the legislation seems to be taking away all the progressive legislation that helped people in our state,” Robinson said. “It takes us back decades.”
His sentiments were matched by hundreds who joined Robinson at the demonstration, holding signs, singing and chanting slogans like “Don’t take any steps back. Go forward,” and “We’re here to show support for justice.”
In response to suspicions that the protestors were insiders, many carried signs with a message identifying the holder by their hometown — Asheville, Raleigh and other North Carolina cities and towns. The swarm of protestors filling the mall was also ethnically diverse. Robinson described the faces next to him as young, old, African-American, Hispanic, Caucasian, and so on.
“The scene, the best way to describe it, was overwhelming,” Robinson said. “People kept coming and coming and coming.”
More than 100 people were also arrested that evening, according to local news reports. Robinson said as of Tuesday morning it was still unclear if any members from the WNC caucus were among those who entered into the N.C. Assembly to be arrested. He said several expressed an interest in civil disobedience, but he wasn’t sure if they followed through.