April 15, 2016
MEDIA ADVISORY: Three-Day ‘Democracy Awakening’ Begins Saturday; Hundreds to Risk Arrest – Including 60 Organization Leaders, High-Profile People – As Part of Mass Convergence on Washington, D.C.
Mass Mobilization Backed by 300 Organizations to Feature Teach-Ins, March, Rally and Lobbying; On Sunday, Cornell Brooks, Rev. William Barber II, Dolores Huerta, Kathleen Turner, Others to Address Voting Rights, Money in Politics and Inequity in Democracy
WHAT: Thousands of activists from around the country will stream into the nation’s capital April 16-18 for Democracy Awakening, a three-day event featuring a rally, a march, teach-ins, lobbying and civil disobedience. Democracy Awakening plans to fight back against business as usual in Washington, D.C., and demand a democracy that works for everyone, not just corporations and the wealthy. The message: On voting rights, money in politics and the recent vacancy on U.S. Supreme Court, Congress is failing to do its job and ignoring the will of the people.
Saturday features teach-ins. Sunday is the kick-off ceremony and march with speakers including the NAACP’s Cornell William Brooks, United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta, environmental activist Sandra Steingraber, and actress Kathleen Turner.
On Monday, approximately 60 leaders of organizations and other high-profile people will risk arrest. They include the Rev. William Barber II, pastor and Moral Monday architect; radio commentator Jim Hightower; Annie Leonard, the executive director of Greenpeace USA; Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of, Ben and Jerry’s; as well as the heads of about two dozen organizations ranging from the NAACP and Public Citizen to the Democracy Initiative, the Communications Workers of America and the Franciscan Action Network. Many others will join them.
More than 300 organizations have endorsed the landmark mobilization. It is a broad coalition of organizations representing the labor, peace, environmental, student, racial justice, civil rights and money in politics reform movements. People are coming from throughout the country, by bus (19 states), air, van and car. They are coming from such states as Michigan, Kentucky, Florida, Connecticut, Tennessee and California. Democracy Awakening is part of a broad movement aimed at advancing democracy reforms. The mobilization began April 2, with Democracy Spring, an event that featured a march from Philadelphia to Washington D.C., followed by five days of sit-ins at the Capitol.
Media areas will be set up on Saturday and Sunday. Media are requested to RSVP by emailing or calling one of the people listed above. Please also contact the people listed above to schedule an interview with one of the local or national leaders participating.
Saturday, April 16 – Teach, Learn, Transform
Saturday will feature teach-ins, workshops and non-violent direct action trainings by leaders from around the country. Presenters will lead a discussion titled “Voting Rights, Money in Politics United in Struggle,” featuring Marge Baker (People For the American Way) and Ari Berman (The Nation). Other workshops will focus on the environment and democracy; attacks on organized labor, voting rights and campaign finance laws; the role of money in politics as it relates to the military; D.C.’s struggle for voting rights; the U.S. criminal justice system reform; building youth interest and power; and boosting small-donor involvement in U.S. elections.
Where: All Souls Church Unitarian, 2835 16th St. NW, Washington, D.C.
When: 1-9 p.m.
Sunday, April 17 – Rally for Democracy
On Sunday, thousands of people from around the country will participate in a rally and march at the U.S. Capitol. Participants will march, chant, and hold signs shoulder-to-shoulder along the National Mall until they reach the west front of the U.S. Capitol. Featured rally speakers include Cornell Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP; Tefere Gebre, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO, the Rev. William Barber II, leader of the N.C. Moral Monday Movement; Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers; radio commentator Jim Hightower; environmental activist Sandra Steingraber; actress Kathleen Turner; and civil rights activist David Goodman. See a complete list of speakers, presenters and panelists. After the march, a faith vigil will be held.
Where: In front of the U.S. Capitol, at Third Street NW in front of the reflecting pool between Madison Drive NW and Jefferson Drive NW.
March route: At the conclusion of the rally, organization leaders will lead participants in encircling the U.S. Capitol to call on Congress to stand up for democracy, then march to the U.S. Supreme Court and end at Columbus Circle for a faith vigil.
Faith vigil location: Columbus Circle in front of Union Station
When: 1-3 p.m.: Rally for Democracy
3-4 p.m.: March around the Capitol to Supreme Court
4:30 p.m.: Faith vigil
Monday, April 18 – “Congress of Conscience” Day of Action, Non-Violent Direct Protest
More than 60 organization leaders and high-profile people will join thousands of activists to hold a kick-off ceremony in Columbus Circle in front of Union Station and then head to Capitol Hill for a day of non-violent direct action and advocacy. Participants will call for a restoration of voting rights, money in politics reforms and a confirmation vote on the Supreme Court vacancy.
Where: In front of Union Station (south front); then the east front of the U.S. Capitol.
When: 9 a.m.: Kick-off ceremony at Columbus Circle at Union Station
9:45 a.m.: Head to the Capitol
9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: Advocates will lobby members of Congress.