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NAACP "America's Journey for Justice" passes through Carolinas

Marchers carry the American flag from Cheraw in South Carolina to Rockingham in North Carolina as part of NAACP's "America's Journey for Justice." Photo by Jordan Schuman

America's Journey for Justice is a walk of passion and of peace.

"While some agree and some don't, I hope that people will look and see that we are standing. We believe in what we are marching for and that we want you to come on and join," NAACP Cheraw Chapter member Jacqueline Ellerbe-Shannon said.

The march began August 1st in Selma, Alabama, where the Civil Rights movement was born 50 years ago.

"To kind of dramatize the fact that this is something that needs immediate attention. Particularly as all of these candidates are meeting and talking about what direction they would like to take the country," Kevin Myles, National NAACP Field Director for the Eastern United States said.

The entire march is 860 miles long and takes place from August 1st to September 16th. Along the way, new marchers join at each stop and pass the baton onto the next leg. According to an NAACP press release, the march is for a fair justice system, sustainable jobs and education, and equal access to the ballot box.

"We want to live in a diverse society where everybody is equal and has the same opportunities," Ellerbe-Shannon said.

Bernard Mehlman flew in from Boston to participate. He brought his grandchildren from New York to walk the 26-mile stretch from Cheraw to Rockingham Saturday. They march on behalf of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. It's a social justice group that was also involved in the 1960s Civil Rights movement, when Rabbi Abraham Heschel marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and carried a Torah with him.

"When he was asked why he brought eh Torah with him, he said because he was praying with his feet and that stuck in my mind. That's something I want to pass on to them. That doing things with their own hands and feet are ways to really learn and pass on," Mehlman said.

Passing it on to his grandchildren is Mehlman's mission for this trip. It's part of a much larger "Journey for Justice."

"We cannot let forces of hate and racism and bigotry be the voices that are only heard. There have to be the sane voices the rational voices of peacemaking and of racial concord," Mehlman said.

The NAACP is expecting thousands of people to join them in Washington D.C. September 16th where the march ends with an advocacy day. To find a location where you can join the march, click here.


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