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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Thousands supporting left-leaning and civil rights causes in North Carolina are seeking unity ahead of a big election year they hope will reverse gains by conservative lawmakers.

National NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous spoke in Raleigh on Saturday, citing the early American motto printed on U.S. currency that out of many the country became one. Jealous and North Carolina NAACP head William Barber touched on themes popularized by the Occupy Wall Street movement that most Americans could improve their future by voting out politicians who favor the wealthy.

Both said the majority lose when politicians use wedge issues to divide people, citing the example of a proposed amendment to the North Carolina constitution that would enshrine state laws barring gay marriage.

Voters will consider that constitutional amendment in May.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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