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Winston-Salem officials join together, demanding unity against injustice

By B.J. Murphy

A few of those who made it out to The NEXT Rally event.

Winston-Salem, NC – On July 27, more than a dozen people, including political officials and members of several organizations, gathered here to call for unity in the low-income communities of East Winston-Salem and to join forces against racist injustice. The event was organized by Delinzia Upson, who’s a foreclosure prevention coordinator and writer for BE Winston Salem, and Marva Reid, president of the East/Northeast Winston Neighborhood Association.

Even as the rain poured down, people came and spoke of the continuing line of injustice occurring in Winston-Salem. “There’s a lot of stuff happening to our community today,” says Derwin L. Montgomery, city council member and representative of East Winston-Salem , “so we’re here to ensure we’re out and engaged in the process. I just want people to know that this here makes a difference, no matter how small it seems. It does make a difference, as we see here – we’re all in this together.”

Evelyn Terry, who is a candidate for the North Carolina House of Representatives district 71, spoke a fiery speech against HB 589, a voter suppression bill, saying “There are some people who want to turn back the hands of time. Are we going to let them do that? Hell no! I find it unbelievable in the things happening in our state, in particular that dreadful, draconian bill that will take us far beyond reconstruction – the voter suppression bill.”

Terry continued, “It was because of all of the people who marched and died, who were beaten and maimed, that allowed us to exercise our right to vote. I believe, from this day forward, we need to go to the streets, to the churches, to the synagogues, to the mosques and show the people how critical it is for them to exercise their right to vote, no matter what barrier there is in front of them by this mean-spirited, un-Christian-like, unjust General Assembly.”

Chants erupted from the crowd, “Forward together now, not one step back!” and “Fired up! Ready to go!” Poets spoke, food and beverages were provided and local DJ Annette D. Hayes played music throughout the event.

Several other people spoke of injustice in the state of North Carolina and our current fight against HB 589, including Earline Parmon, a General Assembly member and candidate for the North Carolina Senate, Jemmise Brown, who is running for membership of the Northeast Ward City Council, and Larry Little, former Black Panther and city councilmember.

“We can make a difference,” said Little. “Your involvement can make a difference. Today we are at a critical junction in this state. Are we going to go forward, or are we going to go backwards?”

“I would’ve never thought,” Little continued, “that we’d be fighting over women’s reproductive rights. I never thought we’d get to the day where we see the inability of students to use their school IDs to vote. So quite frankly, if we are serious, we owe it to our children and grandchildren to show them that not only did we fought a good fight, but that the fight continues and we will march forward unto victory!”

Annette D. Hayes playing music for the event.

#WinstonSalemNC #AntiRacism #voterSuppression #InjusticeSystem #HB589