Can you feel the excitement? Democracy Awakening brought thousands to Washington, D.C., for a three-day weekend of marching, celebrating, making signs, teaching, and fun. The weather was beautiful, the sun relentless, and—when we weren’t out in the crowd or in the streets—we scooped ice cream until there was no more ice cream to scoop. We can’t remember when there has ever been such a remarkable gathering of people and groups from all across the country, representing hundreds of organizations and dozens of movements, all there to reclaim and restore our democracy.
Only The Beginning
When our co-founders were arrested on Monday on the steps of the Capitol, they were among hundreds of passionate activists who knew, and know, that the movement to ensure the right of every citizen to vote and to get big money out of politics has only just begun.
Democracy Awakening may be over, but the thousands of supporters who came to the nation’s capital will be returning to their homes and communities inspired and even more hopeful than they were before that together we can build a fairer, more inclusive democracy.
The One Issue
The breadth of supporters of this issue is astonishing: from groups representing people of color such as the NAACP, those supporting environmental activism such as Greenpeace, all the way to science organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, who want to see science used to make the world a better place. This is one issue that is at the heart of all other issues, and it brings together activists from every corner of the country.
No Matter What Issue You Care About
Today in America, there is nothing more important than ensuring the right of every citizen to vote and getting big money out of politics. Whatever you care about, whether it’s the environment, LGBT rights, racial equity, workers’ rights, world peace, or anything else, the broken state of our democracy is the one thing keeping true and meaningful change from happening.
We at Ben & Jerry’s have been working to get the dough out of politics for a long time. Seeing all these groups rallying around this issue was a beautiful thing. We are united now in understanding that as long as our leaders are able to keep raking in heaps of unregulated campaign cash from a few ultra-conservative billionaires, then the voices of ordinary people will never be heard. And as long as those same leaders are allowed to keep trampling on the voting rights of minority and low-income communities, students, and the elderly, then our democracy will remain a democracy in name only.
Hope For The Future
Everyone we spoke to at Democracy Awakening was, as you can probably imagine, passionate about these issues. But the excitement we all felt didn’t flow from passion alone. It was the sense of hope shared by so many that truly came to define the weekend.
Leaders, activists, ice-cream enthusiasts, thousands of people, young and old, from different backgrounds, with different experiences and stories, coming together right now to make history. And what they all shared was hope. Hope that this event marked a turning point in the struggle. Hope not only that change could happen, but that it was already underway. Hope that together we’ll make sure our democracy lives up to its promise, that the words “We the people” truly embrace and lift us all.
We’ll be sharing some of the many stories we heard at Democracy Awakening with you over the coming weeks and months. We hope you’ll join us.