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Local activists to hold Small Business Saturday march

Hours after the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office filed additional felony charges against Rev. Gregory Drumwright, the “March for Our Lives” organizer announced his intention to hold another march in the coming week.

This one titled “March for Criminal Justice Reform” is currently scheduled for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28. Drumwright said Thursday he is still working out the details and didn't offer a location for the march.

Drumwright made this announcement during a community meeting Thursday evening that brought out members of several local advocacy groups and independent activists.

"We are multi-generational,” Drumwright said. “We are multi-faith … we are radical and religious.”

At Thursday’s meeting, Drumwright described the upcoming march as a “peaceful protest” with an emphasis on the word “peaceful.” Drumwright said it’s ridiculous that they have to emphasize the peaceful aspect of their marches.

“We’ve been marching all summer, we’re going to protest all fall and all winter,” Drumwright said. “It’s necessary but unfortunate that we have to attach this verbiage.”

Drumwright later added detractors should not infer anything from his group’s commitment to peaceful protest.

"There are people here who are holding back their anger out of respect for my leadership, your leadership,” Drumwright said. “We’re going to have to channel our anger. I’m not marching us because that is the only thing. I’m marching us because that is the right thing. That’s the best way I know how to get more of the beloved community [involved].”

Speaking directly about the new charges, Drumwright said it was absurd that law enforcement officials have filed additional charges while refusing to apologize for the events of Oct. 31.

The upcoming march follows similar events, held on the last day of early voting in North Carolina, Oct. 31, and on Election Day. Although organizers deemed the Election Day march as a success, the Oct. 31 march ended with multiple people getting pepper sprayed and almost two dozen demonstrators arrested or detained.

Thursday’s community meeting was meant to address the events of the Oct. 31 march as well as county commissioners’ most recent regular session in which five people were arrested after county officials abruptly ended the meeting.

Several of those who were arrested on Monday attended Thursday’s community meeting.

Thursday’s community meeting was part of area organizations’ commitment to continue their efforts, regardless of the outcome of the election. The outcome of local elections was one of several topics participants touched on, specifically the less-than-anticipated turnout of black and minority voters in the county.

A number of participants, including local politicians, said this past election was a missed opportunity.

"This past election cycle I really thought with all my heart a blue wave was going to come through Alamance,” said Elon Alderman Quinn Ray, adding that local activists made a good effort by registering people to vote. “That’s fine, that’s great, we need to continue to do that. Registering people to vote is not getting people to vote.”

Despite this, local activist and People for Change Vice President Faith Cook said that regardless of the election, they have strength in numbers.

“When we work together as a group for change for people, you are powerful,” Cook said. “Everyone in this group is powerful.”