By Jesse Wood
Aug. 28, 2013. Today is the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial gave his powerful “I Have a Dream” speech to upwards of 300,000 people.
To commemorate the historic day and follow up on the months of “Moral Monday” protests around the state, the “Bringing Home the Dream” rally will take place in the Harvest House on Boone Heights Drive, beginning at 5 p.m. This event is among 13 simultaneous events taking place in each of the U.S. Congressional Districts in N.C.
“Concerned citizens are gathering to voice disagreement with government policies that disproportionately impact the poor, the unemployed, the young, and the elderly. Of particular concern in Watauga County is equal access to the ballot for all voters,” Marjorie McKinney, an organizer for the Boone event, said in a release several days ago.
The location of the rally was initially slated for the Clawson-Burnley Park in Boone. However due to concerns of violating the town’s noise ordinance, organizers moved the rally to the Harvest House.
This move was dubbed a “poor decision” by some on Facebook because those people wanted the rally more visible to the public and felt more people would attend the outdoor venue as opposed to the indoor venue that seats roughly 400 people.
While the rally is happening inside the Harvest House, a group has planned to hold signs in a grassy area near the intersection of U.S. 321 and Boone Heights Drive. Also if the Harvest House is packed to capacity, the Agricultural Conference Center will take overflow to watch the live stream of the rally.
Live music begins at 5 p.m. with well-known performers including Melissa Reaves, the choir of the Mennonite Brethren Church, Kat Chaffrin and jazzman Todd Wright performing during at the rally.
Local speakers include Dr. Matthew Robinson of Appalachian State University; Rev. Tommy Brown, Presbyterian campus minister; Todd Carter of the Hospitality House; Rio Tazewell, Boone Community Network; Dr. Marye Hacker; among others.
Also the keynote speakers are Dr. Timothy Tyson and Brother Wesley Jarel Morris.
Tyson is a historian and author of the award-winning “Blood Done Sign My Name.” Tyson is Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Professor of American Christianity & Southern Culture at Duke Divinity School, and Education Chair of the NC NAACP.
Morris is currently employed at the Beloved Community Center, a social justice organization in Greensboro. His current focus of work at the BCC includes immigrant and worker justice and youth organizing. Read more about both keynote speakers and the other speakers here.
“I believe we have a really outstanding program,” McKinney said on Wednesday.
A Facebook event page is available with additional information: https://www.facebook.com/events/187542724751878/.