Let’s face it, our democracy is broken. Ideally, it should be chugging along like a well-fueled ice cream truck, running on the passions and voices of ordinary Americans, and representing people of all flavors. But many of us know that’s not happening. Our voices are not being heard, our desires are taking a backseat to wealthy interests, and politicians are making it harder and harder for us to cast our votes. The democracy truck has broken down, folks.
On April 16-18, people just like you who are passionate about getting it back up and running are convening in Washington, DC for Democracy Awakening, a 3-day fight for the heart and soul of American democracy.
Here’s why people are pumped to make their voices heard at Democracy Awakening:
1. It’s the one issue that impacts literally ever other issue
What do protecting the environment, racial equity, LGBT rights, economic equality, workers’ rights, health care, and voting have in common? Money. BIG money. When the top one tenth of one percent of the population is pouring tens of millions of unregulated campaign dollars into the system – whilst also enacting laws that suppress voters – it should come as no surprise when their values and priorities win out. And as long as they’re the ones funding our elections, you can be sure that the sensible agenda most Americans support will never see the light of day.
2. It’s bringing together a very diverse group of activists
The realization that true change cannot happen without tackling big money and voter-suppression efforts has brought together a startlingly broad movement. Democracy Awakening will have representatives from the labor, peace, environmental, student, racial-justice, religious, civil rights, and money-in-politics reform movements. If history has anything to say, once movements become so diverse and robust, change is imminent. Just last year the diverse movement fighting for LGBT rights saw a major victory with the SCOTUS marriage equality ruling. And that was one of the biggest social justice wins of our lifetimes.
3. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the issues
Democracy Awakening is more than just a protest or a rally. A series of workshops is integral to the event—opportunities for participants to learn more about the issues from people who advocate for change every day all over the US and the world. There will be sessions on subjects ranging from direct-action training and criminal justice reform to working for change in local and state elections. Participants can take that knowledge and inspiration home with them to continue to build this movement in their own communities.
4. …and then do something about it!
It’s not often that you get the opportunity to translate your passion, energy, and commitment into immediate action, but you sure will at Democracy Awakening. After all, the point of the conversations, the teachings, the organizing, and the planning is to make change happen. We’ll see people take to the street on Sunday for the Rally for Democracy. Thousands will march around the Capitol Building and past the Supreme Court. And finally, on Monday, hundreds will join together in nonviolent acts of civil disobedience as part of the Congress of Conscience, sending a message to Congress that our democracy is broken and urgently needs to be fixed.
5. But if it’s not fun, why do it?
While these are serious issues, and our broken democracy is no joke, what’s the point of changing the world if you can’t have fun? You’ll be surrounded by a diverse group of people, all rallying to make the world a better place. That in itself is a natural high. But there’s also an after party on Saturday with music and comedians. Who knows? Maybe you’ll hear something that’ll make for a wicked-awesome protest sign! And, of course, it’ll all give you plenty of stories to tell once you get back home.
Our Democracy Needs a Wake-Up Call
There is a concerted two-pronged strategy underway to make sure the voices of ordinary citizens won’t be heard: flooding our election process with unchecked, unregulated cash from ultra-wealthy donors and enacting voter suppression laws that keep ordinary Americans’ voices – and especially those of African Americans, lower-income people, youth, and the elderly – out of the process entirely.
The result? A democracy that puts wealthy interests far above those of ordinary Americans. And a population that can’t wait for change. Take action today for a a democracy that puts people first.