Democracy Awakening rally brings thousands to Washington, D.C.

Thousands of people from across the country came to Washington, D.C., to participate in the three-day “Democracy Awakening.”

  • 5000 The number of people attending the march and rally.
  • 300+ The number of organizations that endorsed the landmark mobilization.
  • 60+ The number of organization and movement leaders arrested.

Thousands of activists from around the country poured into the nation’s capital April 16-18 for Democracy Awakening, a three-day event co-organized by Public Citizen featuring a rally, a march, teach-ins, lobbying and civil disobedience. Democracy Awakening was conceived as a way 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.

April 16 featured teach-ins. April 17 featured a 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 April 18, approximately 60 leaders of organizations and other high-profile people were arrested while protesting for democracy. They sat down on the Capitol steps and refused to leave. Those arrested included Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen; Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO, NAACP; Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Ben & Jerry’s co-founders; Tefere Gebre, executive vice president, AFL-CIO; Sarita Gupta, executive director, Jobs With Justice; and the Rev. William Barber II, pastor and Moral Monday architect.

“I did not make the decision to get arrested lightly. I chose to engage in civil disobedience because I care so much for our country – and because I am so desperately concerned about our broken democracy. We are standing up for democracy, by sitting down.” Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen

More than 300 organizations have endorsed the landmark mobilization. It was a broad coalition of organizations representing the labor, peace, environmental, student, racial justice, civil rights and money in politics reform movements.

Participants came from throughout the country, by bus (19 states), air, van and car – from such states as Michigan, Kentucky, Florida, Connecticut, Tennessee and California.

Highlights

  • Thousands of activists from around the country poured into the nation’s capital April 16-18 for Democracy Awakening, a three-day event co-organized by Public Citizen.
  • The massive action for democracy featured teach-ins, a march, a rally and civil disobedience.
  • 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.
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