Last night, hundreds of people gathered outside of the U.S. Capitol for a Candlelight Vigil For Democracy – while thousands more gathered in more than 300 similar vigils across the country – in remembrance of that dark day one year ago when insurrectionists stormed the Capitol, threatening our precious democracy. LCV was proud to play a lead role in bringing this event to fruition. Though the occasion was somber, we know we can’t afford to ignore what is at stake. As the LCV-commissioned 20 foot installation called, “Voters Decide,” alluded: we must protect and strengthen our democracy at all costs.
Watch the recorded livestream here.
When the violent extremists came to D.C. last year in an attempt to stop a free and fair election, they failed. Unfortunately, their attacks on our democracy have continued with vengeance. In states across the country, they are passing new restrictions, purging voter rolls, drawing unfair districts, and creating new loopholes to rig elections in their favor. Just as the violent insurrection was, we know all of these threats to our democracy are particularly harmful to people of color, indigenous people, young people, and those who have a disability – the same communities who bear the burden of environmental threats to our air, water, and climate. We cannot allow this to continue – we need comprehensive voting rights reform and we need it now.
As LCV Voting Rights Program Director Justin Kwasa, who was on the ground and helped organize last night’s event said, “There is a much different energy in the air today than there was one year ago — and that is hope. We know what needs to be done and those of us who showed up to the National Mall and the hundreds of events across the country are fighting to make sure that happens. We must pass the Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, and D.C. Statehood without fail. Our democracy is at stake.”
That’s why LCV is working hard to ensure that the Senate passes these key pieces of democracy protecting legislation by any procedural means necessary. Many of our climate champions who were present at the Capitol a year ago and spoke about their experiences on the Senate floor yesterday share this same urgency. And we look forward to working with them and the Biden-Harris administration to ensure that the Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, and D.C. Statehood are passed quickly and sent to President Biden’s desk.