The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Phone: (202) 588-1000

One Year After Capitol Insurrection, Thousands Gather Nationwide Calling For Bold Democracy Reform

Pro-Democracy Coalition Hosts More Than 350 Vigils & Voter Registration Actions Nationwide


In addition to a slate of events from the White House and Speaker Pelosi marking one year since the attacks on the U.S. Capitol, today over 100 organizations and thousands of people will gather in Washington D.C. and around the country to urge the Senate to pass critical legislation to safeguard our democracy, protect the right to vote, and secure free and fair elections, including the Freedom to Vote Act, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and DC Statehood.

"In America, voters decide the outcome of elections. Yet 365 days after the attacks on the 2020 election culminated in the Capitol calamity, we still haven't enacted meaningful reforms to prevent another January 6," said Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen. "If the Senate doesn't act now, we are guaranteeing that there will be more election chaos in 2022."

In Washington, D.C., people will gather on the National Mall near the Capitol for a candlelight vigil at 4:45 p.m ET. In addition to representatives at national organizations, speakers will include Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Rep. Veronica Escobar, (D-TX), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).

See full details on the DC event here

Elsewhere today, more than 350 events including vigils and voter registration actions are planned across the country.

"On January 6th, 2021, we watched in shock and terror as violent extremists attempted to overthrow our democracy. Today, one year later, we gather to mourn the lives lost on the day of the insurrection and in its aftermath, and to remind President Biden and the Senate that there is still much work to be done to safeguard our democracy," said Ben Jealous, president of People For the American Way. "For America to move forward, we must hold all of those who perpetrated the crimes of that day responsible for their actions--including those who colluded with insurrectionists to allow entry into the Capitol and those who worked within the Trump administration who remain unwilling to cooperate in investigations. We must also move swiftly to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and other federal voting rights legislation to stop voter suppression bills in states across the country fueled and maintained by the same Big Lie that led to the insurrection and intended to disenfranchise millions of Americans."

"These rallies are about, at heart, affirming the idea that we are a democracy and want to remain one," said Bill McKibben, founder, Third Act and "Every American should feel that way; for Americans of a certain age, the shock at seeing our democracy under threat may be particularly acute. There are members of Third Act who fought in World War II to defend that democracy; all of us were alive when JFK spoke of freedom against the backdrop of the Berlin Wall, and when LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act, finally extending the franchise to millions more Americans. Perhaps because of those formative experiences, it's possible that we've taken our democracy too much for granted; but now, against the backdrop of an attempted coup and the ugly efforts at voter suppression, we reaffirm in the strongest possible way our commitment to renewing and expanding the American experiment with self-government, so that everyone plays a part and so that no one ever again feels free to toy with this fundamental heritage."

"The January 6th attack last year by right-wing militants who were motivated by former Pres. Trump's Big Lie demonstrated the dangers facing our nation. It also underscores the urgency with which we need to transform our political system into one that works for all Americans," said Jana Morgan, director of the Declaration for American Democracy, a coalition of over 240 organizations leading the fight to pass the Freedom to Vote Act. "To prevent this kind of attack from happening again, our elected leaders must pass critical legislation that will protect this country from anti-democratic forces. The U.S. Senate and President Biden must do whatever is necessary to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and other critical reforms. Coming together, we can prevent another January 6th-style attack and realize the promise of democracy for all of us."

"When democracy fails, women are the first ones under the bus," said Emiliana Guereca, president of Women's March Foundation. "On January 6th, Women's March Foundation is doubling down on our efforts to register voters across the country."

"A full year after white supremacists nearly destroyed the bedrock of our democracy in an attempt to overturn a free and fair election, the Senate has still not passed meaningful reforms to ensure a violent insurrection never occurs again. Enough is enough," said Ramon Cruz, president of the Sierra Club. "The landmark Freedom To Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act represent the best chance to fundamentally strengthen and protect our democracy, yet both bills are currently stalled in the Senate by the Republican minority. The American people are demanding action to protect voting rights, tackle the climate crisis, and safeguard our communities, and by passing these two bills, our country will be closer than ever before in achieving those goals. The Sierra Club calls on the Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act immediately."

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people - not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

(202) 588-1000