Jim Neal at HKonJ

Yesterday was another first for me. In all my years of being passionate about one particular cause or another, yesterday was the first time I got up and joined with thousands of other people and marched.

In the past, I've written to my legislators, sent letters to the editor, and made campaign contributions. Early this year I started volunteering for Jim Neal for Senate. And yesterday we went on a march -- HKonJ.

HKonJ is a movement started by the NAACP but joined with several other groups across the state, to push a progressive 14-point agenda through the state legislature. This is the second annual march; last year's march has led to some small successes, but there's still a long way to go. I'm not sure that either of our Democratic gubernatorial candidates really, wholeheartedly supports a death-penalty moratorium, for example. And most people don't know about, much less like to talk about, North Carolina's 30-year involvement in the eugenics movement.

WRAL's story on HKonJ

N&O story on same, which will disappear in a couple weeks

We were there because Jim Neal supports the goals of HKonJ.

Jim Neal marching at HKonJ

More photos here.

So again I got up early on a weekend (though not as early as I did for the trip to Hamlet). And of course, there was a police car blocking the road out of my neighborhood, forcing all of us to turn around and detour, which made me about 5 minutes late getting to the rendezvous at campaign HQ.

Which in turn led to a brief moment of panic on my part, as I drove up and saw no one. I walked over to the doors into the building. Locked. Argh, surely they wouldn't have left without me? I called my buddy, Rob, and he reassured me that no, the caravan hadn't left, everyone was inside, and he let me in. With a sigh of relief, I joined the group. We waited around for another 15 minutes or so then split into 2 cars and made our way to Raleigh.

I do not like one-way streets. But we only made one wrong turn and met up with the rest of the group in short order once we'd parked. We got stickers and literature to hand out, as well as yard signs to display once we actually started marching. For a long while, people just milled around and did the "meet-and-greet" thing, shaking hands, exchanging stickers and information, etc. I talked to the Planned Parenthood folks, naturally.

But again, the meet-and-greet thing is not my forte, and Hazel and Rob, my carpool buddies, did a LOT better on that front than I did. And I mean, A LOT BETTER. I drove us there and back, I marched and carried my sign, I handed out a few stickers and pieces of lit, but mostly I marched and carried my sign. Oh! And brought a camera (which I loaned to Harrison for the duration; photos of the event are by him, not me).

In a burst of TMI, every woman's favorite red friend landed on me about an hour after we got to the rally, which took the wind out of my sails for a good bit. (If you've never had an elephant standing on your insides, it's hard to explain what it feels like. But anyway.)

The rally at Chavis Park kicked things off; lots of folks spoke and a few sang. Then we marched the mile and a half to the legislative building on Jones Street, chanting slogans and waving our signs all the way. At the legislative building there were there were a few more speeches and a voter registration drive.

The atmosphere was incredibly upbeat, and the weather was great, but by this time it was pushing 2:30pm and we were all, even the extroverts, starting to wilt a little. So we decamped and made our way back to campaign HQ. Somehow, by dint of picking the correct parking garage, our little group got to our car well before anyone else, and thus made it back to Durham in advance (we thought) of the promised pizza, so our car made a command decision to detour for chicken. We still managed to eat a few pieces of pizza as well, though. ;)

And again, Jim was there with us, sitting on the floor, eating pizza. I simply cannot imagine Liddy Dole ever doing that. Or marching at HKonJ, for that matter. And that's why I'm voting for Jim.


A first for me too

That's the first time I've ever done anything like that and it was so much fun. I think Jim impressed a lot of people yesterday. When I first started talking to people about him, the usual response was "who?" but after a couple of hours, more often than not, the response was "I just met him. He's great." As the march was starting, a group of college-age kids asked for Jim Neal signs and joined us.

the campaign in miniature

but after a couple of hours, more often than not, the response was "I just met him. He's great."

That's kind of the whole campaign, in miniature, at least from my volunteer perspective. People don't know him yet, but once they meet him, they can't help but like him. And then vote for him. We have something like 88 days left until the May 6th primary...

Thanks for driving

I meant to say that before.

No problem

Driving is easy for me; talking to people is harder. ;)

R's react to the event

From the N&O.

However, the message of the group -- peppered on Saturday with signs demanding the impeachment of President Bush -- does not resonate with most Republican lawmakers and failed to gain much traction in the Democratically controlled legislature last year.

"There was nothing on that agenda that was practical or within our power or something I wanted to do," said Rep. Paul Stam, an Apex Republican who is House minority leader.

He was one of several Republicans who said that the reforms would be too expensive and impractical. Most said the agenda reflected liberal concerns they've been hearing for years.

"I guess I did see it," Sen. Neal Hunt, a Raleigh Republican, said of the group's agenda. "But I didn't frankly pay a lot of attention to it."

What inspiring public servants these Republicans are! Justice and fairness are too expensive and impractical. No wonder they suck at governing.

I respectfully disagree with Rep. Stam

All 14 agenda points are practical, they are within our power, and they are something WE want to do.

Dismissing out of hand thousands of North Carolinians, 70 people-powered organizations, and the future of our great state and country is simply wrong.

Is there any doubt that everyone in North Carolina who cares about social justice needs to help me remove Rep Stam from the NC Legislature?

Ed Ridpath

Ed Ridpath

No doubt whatsoever!

We need Ed Ridpath to retire Rep Stam.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I'd vote for him

He'd have my vote, if I could switch districts. David Price has this district so sewn up usually that if I could give my vote to another district where it could make a difference, I would if it were legal...

Ed's running for NC House

not US House. Check to see what your NC House district is.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I'm an idiot

*smacks self on forehead*

I knew that, I guess the basketball is distracting me... ;)

He's one district over from me; I'm in Durham, not southern Wake. Close, as they say, but no cigar.

I don't know which is worse

I don't know which is worse, Stam saying he didn't want to do any of the things on the agenda, or Hunt saying he basically ignored the whole thing.

Justice and fairness are too expensive and impractical.

They're out of touch, and they need to be voted out of office.

Met Jim on Saturday

I met Jim on Saturday at the march and was very impressed with him. He really seemed to have a grasp on the issues and was just a nice guy.

I will posting my pictures from the event this evening.

"jump in where you can and hang on"
Briscoe Darling to Sheriff Andy

tell your friends. then tell more friends.

Time is short, and getting the word out is critical right now. The polls show that many people are not really engaged with this race, but getting the right kind of Democrats who will fight for us in the Senate is so important, no matter WHO is in the White House.

This is the time to eject the rubber stamp Republicans and the spineless Dems. Just like our BlueNC buddy Larry Kissell, Jim is from outside "politics as usual", so he needs our support. Do you really want more absentee landlording from Elizabeth Dole?

Disclaimer: I am just speaking for myself here, not authorized by any campaign. I just want a better North Carolina.


Thank you TrueMeckDem and chun yang for your encouraging words of support-- and of course angry girl who's constantly in our campaign's path.

Keep beating the drums!