By Craig Sandler
If you looked out your window on Wednesday night, you may have witnessed an unusual sight: hundreds of candles held high by concerned citizens in an act of solemn yet empowering protest.
Activists in cities around the country, from Salt Lake City to Palm Beach, from Walla Walla to Atlanta and everywhere in between gathered to raise their voices. Altogether, there were nearly 200 vigils held in 39 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. These vigils were an opportunity for concerned citizens to come together and say enough is enough; we will not accept having government corruption and that the constant ethics scandals must end. These peaceful protests called for an end to the threats facing the basic health of our democracy, from money in politics to gerrymandering and voter suppression. Through songs, speeches and a moment of silence to recognize the human cost of corruption on people’s lives, hundreds of attendees recommitted to protecting Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia and to promoting reforms to strengthen democracy.
As citizens gathered to channel their anger as well as their hope, the country took notice. National media outlets such as Fox News, NBC News, and The Hill, as well as dozens of local media outlets from across the country covered the protests.
Public Citizen is honored to have participated in the vigil in Washington, D.C. across from the White House. As one of dozens of sponsoring organizations representing a diverse coalition of issues, political beliefs, tactics and visions, Public Citizen was proud to stand united in solidarity with its cosponsors and with the thousands of activists across the country in the name of rejecting government abuse and preserving the fair, participatory promise of the American dream.
At the D.C. vigil, which you can watch in its entirety here, speakers from Public Citizen, People for the American Way, Common Cause, MoveOn, the Center for American Progress, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Working Families Party and local activist Ericka Taylor took the stage, as well as U.S. Senators Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Merkley (D-Ore.) and U.S. Congressmen Sarbanes (D-Md.), Nadler (D-N.Y.), Capuano (D-Mass.), and Pocan (D-Wis.). These speakers’ messages channeled the crowd’s frustration, fear and anger at the rampant corruption in our government and institutional threats to our democracy, while emphasizing an important undercurrent of hope. As bad as things are right now, we can be assured that we can still win back a fair democracy and an ethical government if we mobilize and make our voices heard in the streets and in the voting booth.
Below are some of our photos from the Washington, D.C. vigil. For photos and stories from vigils around the country, explore the #ConfrontCorruption hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, view the photos from different cities in this Google folder, and enjoy a compilation of photos and videos in this Twitter moment.
But, most importantly, join the fight! You can sign up to one of the hundreds of rapid-response events that will take place across the country if the Mueller investigation is compromised at trumpisnotabovethelaw.org. Together we can protect our democracy!
Created with flickr slideshow.