At HKonJ, movements unite around justice

(from left to right) ACE Fellows Robert Van Der Drift, Jasmine Gregory and Enoch Cheung stand with ACE Program Manager Briana Steele at the HKonJ Moral March on Raleigh.

On the morning of February 11, I headed to downtown Raleigh to participate in the HKonJ Moral March on Raleigh, a march calling to protect the rights and liberties of all citizens, especially marginalized groups, from discriminatory legislation and policies at all levels of government. I was to be one out of tens of thousands of people attending one of the largest marches in state history, and though it was my first time going to any march, I felt like I was part of something very welcoming.

Imagine if we could join hands with those we consider enemies to achieve something truly great for the country and its people.

Having brought my camera to capture some of the compelling scenes at the march, I took on more of an observer's role in order to document as much of what was going on as possible. The energy in the air was tangible. In every direction that I looked, I could see people gathered and fighting passionately for what they believed was right.

There were hundreds of different groups present, supporting a wide variety of different causes that all centered around liberty and justice. I felt impressed that such a diverse group of people could come together as one; it was truly a show of strength and heart to be united like that.

I was marching with the Alliance for Climate Education, pushing for people to take action against climate change and supporting those most affected by it. During my time as an ACE Action Fellow, I’ve learned that the issue of climate change is intertwined with a variety of other social issues, such as food access, health care, and immigration. So even though I was not directly a part of other groups at the march, I was connected to them by my concern for climate change and its effects on people. This is precisely why the march was so powerful for me, because I felt that all of the people there had something in common with each other, that everyone was moving forward, together.

Coming out of the march, something that I would like to see happen is for people to try to be patient, open-minded, and willing to work with those that oppose them. For me, a movement is weak when it is divisive and fails to understand or recognize the concerns of groups that have different views. In time, it’s my hope that all Americans will realize that an issue like climate change is something that every person must deal with regardless of what their party affiliation is, or what their beliefs are, or where they come from. And when that time comes, it will be essential that we are truly together and equipped to fight for what is right. Imagine if we could join hands with those we consider enemies to achieve something truly great for the country and its people.

Enoch Cheung

Enoch Cheung is a 2016-2017 Action Fellow in the Greater Raleigh Area. He attends Raleigh Charter High School.