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tv   Activists Hold Democracy Rally on Jan. 6 Anniversary  CSPAN  January 7, 2023 11:26pm-12:48am EST

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>>good afternoon everybody we will be singing the black national anthem. please join in if you know. mhm lift every voice and sing till earth and heaven ring ring with the high of liberty. let our rejoicing high as the listening skies. let it resound loud as link see sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught, full of the hope that the present has brought us facing rising of our new day megan. let us march on till victory is. thank you. and then if i can help somebody, if i can help help somebody as i p away, if i can cheer somebody with the world of the song, if i can show somebody who is living wrong then my living shall not be in vain. then i live in shall not be in vain. shall not be in
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vain. if i can have somebody as
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i sing this song long then my living be in vain. thank you. thank you. show less text [indiscernible] good afternoon. i am the president of people.
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american way. thank you. it is such a pleasure to be here with so many friends. the american federation of teachers, there's so many terrific organizations, but i think i can speak for all of us when i say we would rather not be here at all. we have issues. we got into this to fight. we have people that got into this to fight. and none of us could have imagined the latest five years ago. that would rectify for the very right of democracy to exist. that we would have to fight --. i got into politics in elected office as the mayor of ithaca, new york. it is gorgeous. thank you. and i
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ran for office in ithaca because i wanted to fight for people like me who grew up in a homeless shelter. was born and raised in a homeless shelter. was able to make it to cornell just so that i could fight for housing issues. and i'm very proud of what we did in ithaca to build more housing, to change our drug policy, to reform our reform our police department, all those things could be changed by an angry mob, directed by a vindictive loser of a president, attacking the heart of our democracy. that threat not just to install the president they wanted, but was fighting to take will of your rights, and choose control over your body. how your schools are run. everything we got in this to fight for, could be taken away if these interactions have their way. and so we are all here today against our own will and against our own wishes. we are here today
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because this is the fight that matters most. if we can't choose our own leaders we can't do do anything else. i'm thrilled to be here with our families, and i'm thrilled to be here today with a great partner and leader in this fight, and i want to introduce you to lisa gilbert of public citizen. give it up. >> thank you. devante and so fantastic to be here with all of you. i want to add my welcome to everyone who's able to be here with us as well as those joining remotely watching online. uh we are gathered today because we have to we're gathered because we have to solemnly reflect on what happened to our nation exactly two years ago and we need to together plan how to move our democforward. in america, january six was a violent and deadly attack on all americans. it was an attack on our country, on our democracy, on our freedom
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to vote. uh so this january six, exactly two years later we need to come together across the nation to remember those who are lost on this very spot on that terrible day and honor their memories and not only are we gathering here in d. c. but we are at 100 events nationwide. do the same to think about the meaning of the word democracy and the fact that here in america voters decide who our elections. so we get to choose the leaders that represent us. we're a government of by and for the people. two years ago a violent insurrection based on a big lie attempted to stand in the way of that ideal and they failed and we're not gonna let anything stand in its way going forward. as you all know the bipartisan january six select committee recently finished their incredible wide ranging work. their investigation into the root causes of the insurrection. coming out of that work. they made the obviously needed criminal referrals of
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donald tjohn eastman and others to the department of justice. the culpability of those bad actors is crystal clear and the crimes that were committed that day cannot go unpunished. uh thanks that's right. uh the committee also made incredible legislative and executive branch recommendations policies that will improve our democracy going forward. and so now we are looking to our elected leaders to the white house to move forward on those democracy reforms. the things that will protect our country as anti democratic forces continued to align and try to destroy it. so i am again honored to be here with the president for people for american way with all of our incredible allies to gather and honor the memories of those we lost. so with that we're gonna launch right into our program starting with representative john sarbanes. he is an incredible democracy champion. he represents maryland's third
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district. he chairs the democracy reform task force and he is the original assembler of h. r. one, the seminal democracy reform bill, the for the people act. >> thanks very much lisa. good afternoon everybody. it's great to be here. i got bumped a little bit in the program cause i need to get into that building to say the name hakeem jeffries when my name. i've said it 12 times in the last three days and i'm gonna keep saying it as long as it as it takes. but shortly you'll be hearing from the king family and um i wanna certainly thank them because they are at every single rally, every single part of this movement and coalition. they've been at the center at a leading voice. um and we deeply deeply appreciate appreciate that this is a sober day. as as lisa said, we look back on what happened two years ago, the violation of
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this citadel of democracy, the us capitol behind us with this insurrection, the rioters and i do want to just take a moment and uh pay tribute to the officers and others who protected me that day and my colleagues and protected that building, five of whom lost their lives on that day. we remember them and we salute their families and we thank them for their sacrifice. so we remember january six, we understand the legacy of that day and what it means going forward. we can't forget that we have to continue to prosecute those who are responsible for it, accountability has to be at the center of our efforts and we look to the us justice department to make good on that promise to the people and we're gonna continue to push that that forward sadly, i was just saying
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a moment ago there's a jarring symmetry because today and over the last couple of days there's been another disrespecting of the institution by a group of extreme lawmakers who right now are holding us hostage and our ability to act and function and legislate on behalf of the american people. and it has to be said and observed that many of the most of the people who are holding things up in there right now, those extremists are people who are also apologists for the insurrectionists two years ago. so draw your own conclusions from that. but it suggests that our democracy continues to be under assault and that's why we have to continue as well to push back. so as we look to the future this coalition that you all made happen that you keep lifting up is gonna be consequential, making sure that democreform
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fortifying our democracy is stays front and center, that it is a priority in the midterms the people of this country by rejecting election deniers in every state across the country, made it clear that democracy was on the ballot and they want us to continue at the state level, the local level. but certainly here in washington to press for those reforms that can fortify and strengthen our democracy. william cullen bryant who was a great abolitionist theologian, philosopher once said, and this was quoted often by dr king, that truth crushed to the earth will rise again. well, truth, they tried to crush truth two years ago on january 6th, there's a group in there now trying to trust, crush truth
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again, but we know the truth will rise and that we will achieve our goal of fortifying our democracy and it will happen because of your efforts. thank you for being here today. i appreciate it. caller: we are so lucky, we are so so blessed to be joined by our next speaker, uh the eldest son of dr martin luther king, jr and coretta scott king martin luther king the third is a thought leader on the world stage. he's a peacemaker. a negotiator on some of today's most critical national and international platforms for social change. he's been building and amplifying the work of his father mr king has devoted his
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life to promoting global human rights and eradicating racism, violence, and poverty earning uh really truly earning a reputation as a respected international statesman. please welcome one of the world's most passionate advocates for the poor and oppressed mr king, thank you so much for joining us. okay, so we got even luckier. can i tell you we are even more blessed because um andrea waters king, she's dedicated her life to public service as well. she's a passionate leader in the global fight against inequity and justice against hate crimes and all forms of pain throughout her life. if you watched her, uh you've seen that she's closely worked on behalf of those marginalized, particularly through the d. m. i. so you know the drum major institute, really incredible work as through her
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presidency of the drum major institute. we are thrilled to have both kings here. please give it up one more time. show >> good morning. it is such a pleasure and an honor to be with you here. not because of what happened two years ago, but for all people since that day who have continued to be beacon's of peace and justice and equity. for our democracy. you know, i am here is an activist, but i am also here first as a mother. time when civics have been taken out of our classrooms read at a time when history is being taken
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out of our classrooms. the fact that our children's very first example of government is not about the greatness of america, but the destruction of america. i think it is also important to realize that when martin luther king jr. talked about his dream, and he talked about his four little children, he only has one granddaughter, our daughter. and she is 14 years old. i can't imagine what he would think that that granddaughter has progressed to lose rights since she was born. the rights which she and her grandmother and so many others
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worked and dedicated their lives to. what we saw two years ago was a physical attack on democracy. but what we have seen than in some ways is even more insidious. we've seen a structural attack on democracy. we have seen laws that should lift us up being used to limit and go back hard-won rights. you see martin luther king junior's granddaughter now with less voting rights then the day she was born, and let me make it plain. she was born into thousand eight. since she was born, what was left of the voting rights act has continually been chipped and diminished. we live in the state of georgia. she lives in a state in 2020
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that has one of the most are coney and examples of voting rights legislation. she also lives in a state and country where she has less rights as a female and she had a year ago. that is not the dream of martin luther king junior, nor caretta scott king. and this year, as we are going to be celebrating in august, the 60th anniversary of one of the greatest demonstrations, the greatness of america, the greatness of democracy, it is our hope and desire that we as a nation, as a people, once and for all, we fully realize the dream of martin luther king jr. and caretta scott king. caretta scott king talked about each generation having to eat the flames of peace and justice and equity. i hope that as we go back to our homes today, we ignite within our souls and hearts, and renew
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ourselves to continue to feed the flames of peace and justice and equity because the matter what it looks like, no matter how long it takes, truth and justice always have one, always will win. thank you very much. >> good afternoon. i would like to say that i am honored to be year. but i'm really saddened. to be here on the anniversary, two years ago, that american citizens came to the united states capital. with the intent of destroying our government. it is said that people who do not member their history are
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doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. that was a tragic history. two years ago. we have to figure out how we build, not destroyed, their down -- not tear down. what caretta scott king taught us was how we can disagree without being disagreeable. every demonstration that might father was involved in and my mother was involved in were nonviolent and peaceful demonstrations. you see, humankind is god's highest creation. yet, we have seemed to devolve to a lower animal form, sometimes to resolve conflict read we are better than the
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behavior exhibited back then. today, we are here to talk about how we continue to build democracy. dad talked about a vote less people being a powerless people. the important steps we must take are your steps to the ballot box. we are having another election, again. somewhere in this country, every year, we do. but we should always engage in building and expanding democracy. it takes us, the people, to do that. congress has been shared with us as to what happens right behind us. we never have seen this in a hundred 60 years. we cannot even elect a speaker. so the people's business in the lower house can be handled. i guess we have to ask a
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question. what are the people going to do? we are engaged, change occurs. but when we sit by, idly, nothing can happen. i cannot imagine that of my mother and father were living, they would not be calling forth on us as a people. coming together. we know there is a silent majority. there is a majority. it must stand up. it must keep moving forward. all of these issues that were enumerated can be addressed. i never thought or could have imagined that our daughter would have less rights today. and she had when she was born, as president obama was being elected and later on and aguirre.
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she has less of rights. something needs to tell us that there is something wrong in this land. there is something wrong, there is something, however we can do about it. it only takes my dad and others to show us, my mother, a few good women and men to bring about change. that doesn't necessary take a mass. just a few who are willing to say they are going to be there until we get this right. we can be a great nation. but we are not their area. this will be the 60th anniversary of the march on washington. we will work to realize the dream. we are going to invite the nation to join us as we once again talk about all of the rights, not only for that people deserve, but rights that people
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inherently should be enjoying. i know we are better society than we are exhibiting now. i want to urge you to stay on this cattle field. just a few of us are here today. that is not reflective of what is in the hearts and minds of many. so, keep fighting. keep standing for truth. keep standing for justice. don't give in, don't give up, don't give out. we are going to make america truly the great nation that ought to be for all americans. thank you. god bless all of you.
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>> another round of applause. they were fantastic. uh, so now i have the honor of representing someone who truly wanted to be with us today but was unable to join you all know him as the representative of maryland's eighth congressional district. uh, someone who was prominently placed on the january 6th select committee is the new ranking member of the oversight committee. representative jamie raskin. so he sent along an incredibly eloquent, long, amazing statement to read. um, i have gotten permission to read. just an excerpt just the beginning, but i want a flag that will be released after this. and you can see his full remarks to my friends. i'm sorry, i can't be there with you and only doctor's orders would keep me away january six was the first time in american history that coup plotters and insurrectionists attacked the constitutional transfer of power in congress and almost over through a presidential election trump and
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his accomplishments made common cause with extremist groups steeped in racism and hell bent on insurrection assembled a massive followers into a giant surrounding crowd and mesmerized them with the big lie incited the mob into a blinding antidemocratic unleashed them on his own vice president and the joint session of congress as we counted electoral college votes at the capitol and continued to inflame his followers throughout the riot and praised him effusively afterwards giving them aid and comfort all the way until today. we survived because of people like secretary of state brad raffensperger who refused to commit election fraud by just finding donald trump 11,780 votes. people like sheamus who did the essential work of being an election official in the face of vicious attacks. people like arizona secretary of state, rusty bowers who refused to exchange his constitutional oath of office for a mafia style oath of donald trump and cowardly kingdom of fraud, deceit and depravity. we
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were saved by the astounding courage of people in law enforcement like sergeant donal and officers michael finnegan hodges and done. we were saved by political leaders like speaker nancy, pelosi, democratic caucus, chairman hakeem jeffries and republican conference chair liz cheney, who refused to back down in the face of violent insurrection. the heroes of this debacle insisted upon respecting and implementing the will of the people as expressed through our constitutional system. so i will stop there again multiple pages that he wants to share with all of you. but um, he wanted to make sure that you all know that his thoughts are with us as we gather today to fight for democracy and honor the memories of january six. thanks everyone . >> forgive me. i was talking to
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the king's uh, just still not used to it. um, so i was 24 years old when i was elected mayor, i was pretty impressed with myself even though nobody else was uh, this next woman knocks my socks off and hopefully all of yours. her name is addison rose. she's the youth mayor of d. c. and she was just re elected to her second term. she's passionate about youth advocacy, voting rights, many, many other things. a very impressive young woman. please welcome youth mayor addison rose. >> good afternoon. my name is addison rose and i currently serve as the youth mayor here in
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washington, d. c. i would like to thank people for the american way for inviting me to stand here on this site and pay homage to the lives lost and traumatized due to a breach in our democracy. on december 8, 1941, president franklin d. roosevelt addressed the nation after the japanese attacks on pearl harbor. in this address, he gave one of the most iconic quotes ever from an american president saying yesterday december 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy. on january 6th 2021 a new day arose which will forever live in infamy when our american center of democracy was taken over by people who wanted to alter and stop the process of democracy. we hold dear in our nation today. we are
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here to reflect on the senseless and violent attacks on our capital and democracy two years ago, not only did the aftermath of the attack leave the federal government to cover $1.5 million dollars in damages, but more importantly, the innocent lives of the people we call heroes ended up taking their lives because of the emotional trauma they suffered. this idea of emotional damage hits close to home for many of us, but it also hits close to home as this occurred right here on the site which we stand. but more importantly, for the more than 700,000 of us, it happened in our city for some of us even right down the street. this is why it is imperative that we excites our vote to make sure we are electing leaders in our country who will protect and steer us in the right direction.
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not encourage us to act in an aggressive manner. we need to vote more people that share that ideals that are laid out in our constitution and are committed to upholding our constitution. this was not the case two years ago. it is only when we have done everything in our power like voting, that we can blame everyone but ourselves. we must take accountability in some degree personally. i recently turned 18 and with that i will make sure i vote in every election as the future of our country stands on the shoulders of our actions, the more we can get out the vote, encouraging others that their voice and a vote does make a difference. the farther we get from disappointment. similarly, the lack of power. district government officials experienced on january six showed us once
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again why d. c. deserves its right to be a state. it proved how powerless local officials felt as they were unable to excite the district of columbia army national guard due to our mayor, muriel bowser having no control over them. this caused her to wait an entire three hours until local troops were given approval from the army. we have control over nothing. yet the heart of our country resides in washington, d. c. i say all of this to say we can never forget the lives that were lost in the capital defending the members of the house and the senate. this speaks to the fact that we can never again allow our country to become so divided that our president is able to get people to attempt and overthrow our government and not accept the results of an election. lastly we must do more to see better results. i implore
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you to take action and charge in this long but necrosis very fight for our democracy for our country, vote, support d. c. statehood and make sure those around you understand its importance as well. the more we do now to ensure the future of our country is right. the farther away we are from violent attacks like we saw two years ago. thank you. >> can you grab it? thank you. thank you. thank you. >> thanks so much. um so now i'm thrilled to bring up norm ear. she's a d. c. based activist, first generation immigrant and proud muslim feminist over the years, she's organized countless direct actions and national
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marches, mobilizing thousands of people around immigrant rights, climate justice and abortion access. she's here today as the d. c. spokesperson for the women's march. thank you so much for inviting me and women's march to speak here today and for all of your critical work to defend our democracy. let's start off with reiterating one simple clear truth. fighting for our democracy means protecting our right to and expanding our access to abortion. democracy is a political system that is dependent on only one thing respecting the will of we the people and democracy does not exist if we can be deprived of the fundamental freedom to choose what to do with our bodies, our labor, our families and our futures. yet here we are. we are living in a democracy that has been
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hijacked by legions of extremists recruited by encouraged by and mobilized by donald trump and they are relentlessly attacking our fundamental rights, our trans siblings right to exist. our children's right to learn this between schools. and our right to free and fair elections, our right to choose when to start a family. they must be held accountable. the people who climbed these walls right behind us two years ago are no strangers to abortion providers and advocates across the country who in the wake of the attacks spotted familiar faces leaders of anti abortion groups, violent protesters, domestic terrorists and serial harassers. a man who bombed in ohio clinic in 1985 was filmed on the scene on january six, declaring proudly his love for donald trump. a west virginia politician was
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present to. who harassed providers and patients at the only clinic in the state so often that they had to build a 10-foot tall fence to protect themselves from him. and these white supremacist extremists have made it a point since to be even more violent towards abortion providers. in 2021, it was found that assaults on abortion clinic employees and patients had increased as well as bomb threats. pro choice rallies have seen a rise in armed militias confronting and agitating protesters. so let's be clear, the people who climb these walls right behind us are the same people who stand outside abortion clinics, film patients. plant bombs, stock providers and show up at rallies with their ar fifteen's. these extremists are one and the same and they're the same people who voted for trump and other extremist republicans who are dead set on continuing to burn down abortion access state by state. donald trump and his co conspirators must be
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held accountable for the violent uprising that they incited and are directly responsible for today's the recent criminal and ethics referrals are necessary next step and it is now up to the justice department, the courts and the ethics committee to do their job. we can't stop and we must continue to work together to protect our fundamental freedoms, including our right to choose our own leaders and our right to choose what we want to do with our bodies at women's march. we worked around the clock in battleground states to reject extremist republicans and protect our freedoms. and we will not stop now. republicans in the house will continue to assault democracy and attack women. they will introduce federal legislation to ban abortion. but we will stop them like
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we stop them in kansas and michigan and kentucky and california and we will fight as long as it takes to restore all of her rights and i believe that we will win. thank you show less . thank you. >> our next speaker, christina harvey, we're very lucky. she serves as the executive director of stand up america, not like comedy. this organization could not have a more clear, more simple, more powerful mission. what's the mission to demand the democracy that we deserve? so please, you're already standing please stand up for christina harvey, the executive director of step america. >> hi as he said, i'm christina harvey the executive director of stand up america and i'm proud
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to be standing up with you all today on behalf of our nearly two million members across the country who have been fighting for years to protect and expand our democracy and our freedom to vote. i want to thank the not above the law coalition and the coalition for organizing today's event and for all the amazing speakers that we've heard from so far today and especially to all of you who are standing out here in the freezing cold because you care so much about our democracy. we are here today to remember the horrific attack on our nation. we're here to honor the people who stood up for our democracy and refused to let the insurrectionists prevail. and we are also here to recommit ourselves to the work ahead to ensure that we never see another dark day like january six again in our country. i just wanna give a
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shout out to the work of our members over the last year, who worked hard to prevent the next january six from working to elect democracy, defending secretaries of state, who would uphold the will of voters to passing state and local laws to protect our freedom to vote in our democracy, to logging thousands of calls and emails to reform the electoral count act and submitting over 5000 letters to the editor of their local papers, educating their communities about the findings of the january 6th select committee that trump and his cronies planned and promoted a criminal conspiracy to undermine the results of an election they knew they had lost. now, voters turned out last year and they voted to protect democracy in spite of political pundits show telling us again and again that democracy wasn't important to american
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voters. but we organized we did the work, we spread the word and we proved them wrong. that doesn't mean we're out of the woods though as we've seen over the last week. what the chaos that's taking place in the house of representatives right now is just a symptom of the ongoing threat to our democracy right now. maga extremists control the house of representatives. in fact, two years ago today, 135 of the current members of the house were here voting against certifying the electoral college victory of joe biden so that they could keep tin power in spite knowing he had lost and after they were forced to flee from a violent mob that had been called to washington by trump
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himself. and in fact 70% of the members of the of the gop in the current congress, our election deniers, that's something that could should concern anyone who cares about our democracy and our freedom to vote. well, it should come as no surprise that these extremists care more about their own personal and political power than they do about the will of the american people or actually governing that they're more focused on escaping accountability than actually upholding our constitution. some of be to investigate anyone who has tried to hold them accountable through sham investigation, including the staff and representatives who faithfully served on the
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january 6 committee. in one of their first actions if they can ever figure out who their speaker is and actually do anything else, one of their first actions will be to got to the office of congressional ethics. -- including for trump himself the department of justice. and not just the foot soldiers but the general himself, president trump. second, we can't go quietly into the night. we must continue to call out the lies of election deniers. to push back against sham
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investigations and attempts to avoid accountability. and push back against any further efforts to undermine our democracy. and we can't forget about the stakes. we are here today in front of the u.s. capitol, but there are 50 state capitals across this country and we need to make sure that we are members and our constituents are reaching out and talking to everyone who's in those state capitals, whether it's minnesota who just introduced a sweeping new pro-democracy package or illinois to finally pass voting rights registration to people who are incarcerated. or florida where ron desantis is continuing to attempt to criminalize voting. we at stand up america will continue to be in that fight together with all of you. let me just close by reminding us that we are not a country of i. we are a country of we.
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we the people. we are not here for ourselves. we are here for our children, neighbors, communities and family and some of the elected officials in this country seem to have forgotten that critical part of our constitution. we the people demand accountability. we the people will continue fighting to protect our freedom to vote and we the people will continue organizing until we have a truly representative democracy. thank you. >> christina, that was a great message. powerful. to bring up our next speaker, he is the democracy campaign representative at the sierra club. his role is to help steer members into understanding the
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real connections between the fight for a healthy planet in the fight for democracy. >> how is everyone doing? good. everyone staying warm? these toes are starting to freeze. thank you so much for those kind remarks. i also want to thank leo taz will and so many others for organizing this tremendous event and so many other events across the entire nation. it's hard to believe that january 6 was two years ago. it's hard to believe that much time has passed. i vividly remember and witnessing -- to incite our
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capitol building. this was an attack unique in the history of our country. i want us to think about that for a moment. for the first time in history, 246 years, the peaceful transfer of power did not occur when it was scheduled to occur. that is the history of that day. i also vividly recall seeing the images of hatred on the faces of people breaking into the building. knowing well in my heart that if they were different skin color, the outcome and noted would be so much different. i also recall vividly the confederate flags swinging freely in the people's house. never have i seen that before and that just burned in my mind. but that is the history that we have to contend with. that is the history of that day. that is the history that will be taught to our children and grandchildren.
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one thing i want to make sure and hope that does not have to be our destiny. one word i want to focus on his accountability. we cannot heal as a nation unless we have accountability. that also means not just for the foot soldiers. for the people who actually incited this attack. whether it's donald or so many other members of congress, we have to hold them accountable if we expect to heal as a nation. this also means enforcing section three of the 14th amendment. we must use every tool we have in our tool chest to ensure accountability actually occurs. i will close out by saying i want to send a note of appreciation to all of you as well. i know the fight for democracy
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has been long, infuriating, frustrating at times. it warms my heart seeing how many people come out to support a vibrant democracy. i hope we live in a future that this family stays together. >> our next speaker is another young person putting all of us to shame. mariah is not just a student here at howard. she is a young person who one in violence impacted her family, she didn't just get mad. she organized. she founded the local chapter of our lives for gun safety at howard university and she now serves on the national chapter of our lives.
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please welcome this exciting young new leader. >> hello everyone. i serve as board director for march for our lives. our democracy is under attack no more than ever. as young people we are told our power is in our vote, but we have used our power and our vote , yet there is in office trying to stop it every single day. i'm here with march for our lives because young people have a lot to lose. we often say it's only a matter of time. there were over 600 mass shootings in the past year and i don't accept that and you shouldn't have to accept that either. no other country in this world experiences this form of terror
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and violence. the problem only exists in america and it's getting worse. we have a right to live without the fear of gun violence. we have a right to be in our homes, in our churches, in our grocery stores, movie theaters, neighborhoods and schools and not worry about a bullet. that is all right. -- our right. our liberties are at risk. i remember what it felt like to be in this city two years ago today. to watch right extremists and white supremacists attack our country. i remember what it felt like it as a black woman or as a black teenager when it happened and wondering what would happen next. would i be targeted? is everyone in this building going to be ok? what is america coming to and what will it look like tomorrow? because let's be very honest.
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if the insurrectionists looked like me, the situation would have gone a lot differently. and we know this after the 2020 black lives matter protests across the country when black people were fighting for the right to not have to do police brutality and we were met with tear gas and rubber bullets and harassment. even despite all of this, i hoped that we had moved on from a society that did not value the importance of our democracy but i was proven wrong. for the first time in 100 years, there is no functioning congress. if that does not scare you, i don't know what will. right now we have those in office who want to prevent people elected from doing real work serving their constituency. we must hold our local, state and federal leaders accountable to push and protect our
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freedoms. our right to know that when i go into my school, my church, my grocery store, that there isn't an ar-15 waiting for me. we must ban assault weapons now. we must ensure what happened here will never happen again and we will no longer be held hostage by corrupt lawmakers and we will no longer tolerate feeling unsafe in our communities. we must condemn all those involved in the insurrection and continue in this fight and march for our lives. >> so many inspiring people today. we are going to hear from the national organizing director for common defense. common defense is a grassroots movement of progressive
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veterans. >> democracy is at risk and we are here to defend it. we the people have the power. veterans all week have been on the hill engaging with maga extremists and they won't even time -- take time to answer the questions of their constituents. veterans will continue to pressure state and local officials and we will demand to expand those rights to our disenfranchised and marginalized communities to make our democracy true and to ensure the that access isn't gerrymandered away forever by maga
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extremists. veterans are not carveouts. we come from your communities. we are your mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, daughters, sons and more. we are the microcosm of america. what is happening to us is happening to you and what is happening to you is happening to us. veterans of common defense are reminding the people that attacks on our democracy and our freedoms are absolutely unacceptable. our oath matters. our democratic values matter. voting matters. we put our lives on the line in service of this nation. many of us sacrificed. we will uphold that commitment
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as veterans and patriots. we stand in solidarity with you our greater community to protect that commitment. the january 6 select committee has pursued hundreds of interviews, reviewed thousands of documents and helped witnesses in criminal contempt of congress for refusing to cooperate. this criminal conspiracy extends well beyond the violence that was perpetuated on january 6 two years ago. that injured over 140 police officers. that conspiracy making it harder for people to vote. attempting to appoint fraudulent collectors to overturn the will of the voters and intimidating state officials that wanted to change election results in
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contested states. the committee has laid out evidence in great detail. americans have heard the truth for themselves. i am a disabled veteran of the united states marine corps. i served nearly 10 years. i am an iraq war veteran. i swore an oath, the same of. my african-american father swore when he joined the united states air force to be a free man. the same of our president swore, our elected officials swore. and that oath never expires. voting in america should be the easiest thing we all have access to do.
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and sadly, it's our politicians who swear that same oath as our service members who stand in the way of that democracy and today still hold it hostage. make no mistake. we were definitely under attack on january 6 and we stand together now united two years later to ensure that that shit never happens again. that was the most clear-cut calculated attack on our democracy. anti-voter bills were introduced and 47 states after that. wake up. elected officials continue to spread the big lie and many of them were present on january 6 that fateful day.
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their allegiances to spread that fake lie and dismantle our nation is reason enough for us to categorize them as traders. terrorists. the people have spoken through their votes time and time again. donald trump is no longer our president. we the people get to decide and we did that through our votes. january 6 was a practice run. the only way to a better future is for us to hold those participants accountable to the full letter of the law. it's time to build back better collectively as a nation or we will forever be compromised and broken. thank you.
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>> our next speaker, professor of political science at howard. we are so glad dr. perry is joining us today. expert on black politics, urban politics, american public policy and lgbt candidates of color. >> good afternoon. i'm the last speaker so we get to get warm after this. i have the privilege of representing d.c. vote, the biggest statehood organization here.
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i have the privilege of being vice chair of the board. we have many of our staff members here. we want to make sure that you put us out of business. two years ago, they brought a noose for a lynching. you know that they killed five police officers. we already know that because of no statehood, our mayor didn't have the power to stop the onslaught on our country by calling the national guard. we know that the scaled the house chamber with military style rock climbing ropes. they ransacked offices. they brought a confederate flag, the symbol of anti-americanism
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and racial terror to the capital to the first time since the civil war. but since it's january and we celebrate the life and legacy of reverend dr. martin luther king jr. this month, i invoke him again has many others have today to remind us that hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. and we are here today because we love. we love our country. even when it falls short of our dreams. we love d.c., the chocolate city. with blackness rooted deeply from gogo and in every stone laid by an enslaved black person through all of our national monuments including the capital in front of you and the white house.
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but i'm so proud to stand here today on a day that we should not have to stand here to stand for statehood as a ward homeowner. and this hallowed ground where our foremothers and forefathers, our aunties, grannies, uncles and parents marched through blood, sweat and tears. through fire hoses and police abuse. just so that we could proclaim that we will celebrate 60 years of this year later in august, the march on washington where he claimed first when the speech was given not here but in june in detroit michigan with double the amount of people that came here and that speech he said, we
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want all of our rights. we want them here and we want them now. d.c. vote has been working to advance statehood equality for over 20 years. for residents like me. but for every single american citizen. we don't need a constitutional amendment. we only need a majority vote in the united states congress. we only need to affirm the for the people act in the most include all people. we must also affirm that any voting rights rally and legislation efforts must include the fight for statehood in d.c., there is no voting rights in america without the 712,000 residents in the district that ought to be a state to be included. as a political scientist who studies this stuff, i know that government is as good as you and
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me who choose to participate in it. so yes, statehood is a racial justice issue. put those signs up. statehood is a racial justice issue. absolutely it is. and we stand for statehood because we cannot be instruments of our own oppression. we have to ensure that this city, this district becomes the 51st state. and i will borrow from king again. he said in that same original i had a dream speech god is not interested in the freedom of brown people, yellow people, red people, black people god is interested in the freedom of the entire human race. and the representative freedom of the residents of the district of columbia. we are d.c., say it with me.
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we are d.c. and we want all of our rights and when do we want them? >> now. >> god bless you. >> really appreciate your patience. one of the reasons it's a privilege and honor to be president of people for the american way is standing just to from my left -- my left -- to my left. this is a fraction of our staff and our staff is a fraction of our power. if you believe like we do democracy is the birthright of all other human rights. if you believe fighting for that
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democracy is worthwhile, i encourage you to join our team and people for the american way. if you can join the coalition that includes the declaration for the american democracy that put together this event and events all across the country, you will be doing yourself, your family and this nation a great service. we are stronger because of you and i want to hand it off to our partner. >> thanks so much everyone. i want to thank you for being here with us today. as many have said, this year the january 6 committee acted as an incredible public service and now we need to honor it. they proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that trump and his allies planned, promoted and paid for a criminal conspiracy to overturn an election that they knew that
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they lost. and they created a public record that simply cannot be denied. now we need to make sure we honor that. we fight for all of the democracy reforms we heard called for today. i know with all of you we can succeed. thank you again for joining us today. we're going to close out with a couple of songs. thank you all. we are going to win. >> give it up for billy sanders in the cold doing it all day.
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>> hello everyone. i am a native washingtonian as well as a student at howard university as well as the former youth mayor of washington, d.c. i will be sending a very powerful song. called precious lord, take my hand. i'm going to try my best as this wind is trying me. if you know any of the songs you are about to hear, please join in but also allow the lyrics to resonate in your hearts and minds as we understand that we are fighting for our freedom, our rights and voices ok? here we go. ♪ precious lord
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take my hand lead me on and let me stand. i am tired i am weak and i am -- through the night, lead me on to the light take my hand precious lord and
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lead me on thank you. >> my name is jeanette and today i will be singing a song by nina simone. i wish i knew how it would feel to be free. you can clap your hands if you want to. my hands are too cold. ♪ i wish i knew how it would feel to be free
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i wish i could bring all the change holding me i wish i could say all the things i should say say them loud, say them clear for the whole wide world to hear i wish i could share all the love in my heart i remove all the bars that keep us apart i wish you could know what it means to be me when you see and agree that everyone should be free i wish i could give all i'm
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longing to give i wish i could live like i'm longing to live i wish i could do all the things that i can do though i'm way overdue, will be starting a new i wish i could fly like a bird in the sky how sweet it would be if i found i could fly i'd fly to the sun and i look down and see and i'd send because i know and i would sing because i know and
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i would sing because i know how it feels to be free, how it feels to be free how it feels to be free, how it feels to be free how it feels to be free ♪ ♪ thank you. so this last song is a change is going to come by sam cooke. if you all would like to sing
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along, absolutely. if you would like to to step, dance -- two step, dance, i am cool with that, too. here we go. ♪ i was born i was born by the river i was born by the river in a little tent and just like the river, i have been running ever since it's been a long time coming,
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but i know a change is going to come, yes it will it's been too hard living, but i'm afraid to die because i don't know what -- it's been a long time coming, but i know change is going to come, yes it will i go to the movies and i go down town
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it's been a long, long, long time coming, but i know a change is going to come because he said it will. i go to my brother and i say brother, help me please and he winds up knocking me back down on my knees there's a time that i thought i would last long when i think i
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may want to carry on it's been long and i know a change is going to come because god said it will ♪ ♪ thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you.
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