Advocates Host 150+ Candlelight Vigils Across More Than 40 States Honoring Legacy of the Late Rep. John Lewis and Demanding National Standards to Protect Freedom to Vote
Voting rights advocates urge Congress to realize John Lewis’ vision—that democracy includes everyone
Washington, DC — Thousands of advocates in 42 states across the country held more than 150 “Good Trouble Candlelight Vigils for Democracy,” yesterday to mark one year since the passing of Rep. John Lewis. The vigils celebrated his extraordinary legacy and called on Congress to pass critical legislation to protect the freedom to vote, end gerrymandering, and get money out of politics to realize Rep. Lewis’ vision for a democracy that works for all of us.
As part of this, in Washington, DC, the Declaration for American Democracy, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, DC Vote, and the Transformative Justice Coalition, hosted a vigil with members of Congress, including Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-Del) and Joyce Beatty (OH-3), and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), in addition to leaders in the faith community and the movement to transform our democracy. The vigil featured a march from Black Lives Matter Plaza to St. John’s Episcopal Church, where advocates laid a wreath to pay tribute to Rep. Lewis’ incredible life.
“Yesterday, America witnessed more than 150 Good Trouble Candlelight Vigils affirming that John Lewis’ spirit lives on,” said Barbara Arnwine, president and founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition. “In his tradition, we must marshal all of our commitment and resolve to engage in concerted direct action until passage of the For The People Act, DC Statehood and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act! We will invoke the legacy of John Lewis as we march, protest, conduct peaceful civil disobedience and call on the Senate for urgent action to protect all of our nation’s voters.”
“Voting is the language of democracy. It impacts every aspect of our lives today, and the lives our children will lead tomorrow. But the right to vote is in peril as some politicians are trying their hardest to take us backwards by creating barriers for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and new Americans. We are at an inflection point in our nation — one that requires urgent action. Congress must come together to protect the freedom to vote for all Americans by passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the For the People Act, and the Washington, DC Admission Act,” said Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Six months have passed since the failed attack on our nation and our democracy on January 6th. Since that day, anti-voter laws have been passed in states all over the country and the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent rulings have made clear that it will not act to protect the sacred right to vote. This Summer, Congressional districts risk being redrawn in a way that will allow politicians to choose their voters – rather than the voters fairly choosing who represents them.
“We’re encouraged by the real momentum in Congress to work towards passing sweeping legislation to protect the freedom to vote, but the clock is ticking,” said Jana Morgan, director of the Declaration for American Democracy. “To achieve a political system that is inclusive for all, Congress must delay the August recess until the For the People Act is the law of the land—and Congress cannot let the Jim Crow filibuster stand in the way.”
The Good Trouble Candlelight Vigils for Democracy were hosted by the Declaration for American Democracy, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the Transformative Justice Coalition, in partnership with local organizations and advocates on the frontlines of the fight to protect the freedom to vote.
This drive contains downloadable public use photos and videos from the event.
# # #