The boisterous clanking of wooden spoons on pots and pans could be heard for several blocks from the Legislative Building as the legislature convened for its first day of its short session.
More than one hundred citizens gathered in front of the Legislative Building to voice and bang out their frustration with fracking, marriage amendment and worker's rights.
"No matter what issue brought us here, we are standing together," announced MaryBe McMillan, the secretary-treasurer of the N.C. American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.
Retirees held a strong presence at the protest, some representing the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and others, like Jim Senter, concerned about the fracking law that is expected to pass this session.
Senter, 54, is a tree farmer in southern Person County, whose business would be threatened by the fracking process. "There is no where in this country in this country that fracking has been done that has not resulted in poisoned water poisoned wells and destroyed lives and torn apart communities," Senter said, trying to hold back his frustration.
Senter believes legislators are being swayed by the upcoming elections. "I think it's the multi-billion dollar industry that has undue influence and the reason we were here today is because money trumps people in this so-called democracy."
Ava Barlow, a mother and student at Wake Technical Community College, joined the protest after receiving an invitation from a friend. Barlow does not identify herself with any particular group, but simply came out to add her voice and perspective to the protest.
"There's been a tightening of all of our necessities while the rich people and corporations are getting richer and more powerful," Barlow explained. "And it's a trend that needs to be reversed."
"Certainly no legislators will be pressured if we sit down and shut up," Barlow continued. "We have to make a stand. We have to make our voices heard."
Across the street, volunteers for the Americans for Prosperity distributed ear plugs to drown out the cacophony of cheering and kitchenware. Dallas Woodhouse, state executive director, said the earplugs will help Republican lawmakers "drown out the noise from the left." Asked if it makes his side seem tone deaf, he said, "I think these are the people who are tone deaf."
--Rosella Age, staff writer