RALEIGH — Organizers expect about 400 people to come from across the Triangle to rally against racism at noon today in Moore Square downtown.
But the stars of the event - student performers from Moore Square Middle School - will have to walk about half a block to take part.
About 170 students from the school will be coming to the YWCA-sponsored event, also to include talks by civil rights veteran the Rev. David Forbes and Folami Bandele, executive director of the YWCA of the Greater Triangle.
About two dozen students will evoke the event's theme by performing "Live the Dream," a song they wrote for the occasion, and by staging a re-creation of the Greensboro sit-ins of 1960, which are seen as a crucial spark in subsequent national protests.
"It should be a positive, uplifting, powerful program with the kids," YWCA spokesman Scott Misner said.
Stand Against Racism is being observed in more than 70 locations across the United States.
"Any individual or group that believes in a society free of racism is invited to join us Friday during lunch for the Stand Against Racism," said the YWCA's Bandele.
David Kershner, principal of Moore Square Middle School, said faculty and students got involved in dealing with racism as a school at the request of a parent who is associated with the YWCA.
During non-instructional time, they started taking part in "study circles" - small groups in which people with various experiences share their stories and come up with ideas for taking action.
Several groups prominent in opposition to the Wake school board's ruling majority are among rally sponsors. But the rally wasn't planned in reaction to controversy - including hotly denied charges of racism - surrounding the board's decision to end the diversity policy in Wake student assignments, organizers and activists said.
"I think this is too important an issue," said Yevonne Brannon, a former county commissioner who has been active in the school board controversy. "I think it simply stands on its own for all Americans."
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