Several groups joined forces Jan. 6 to sponsor a vigil and remembrance to mark the one-year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. It was one of more than 300 events taking place across the nation.
More than 200 people attended the vigil in front of the Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware church on Route 9 west of Lewes. The church sponsored the event.
Co-sponsors included Common Cause Delaware, Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice, League of Women Voters of Sussex County, Delaware Working Families Party and Sierra Club Delaware chapter.
“Democracy as we know it is hanging in the balance,” said the Rev. Heather Rion Starr of the Unitarian church. “What's worse is that the demolishing of democracy is now happening behind closed doors. We need laws for national voting standards. We must protect the right to vote.”
Common Cause Executive Director Claire Snyder-Hall said the attack on America continues, with the passage of more than 400 election sabotage bills.
“We also need to focus on the fact that our democracy can be resilient,” Snyder-Hall added. “Throughout the country, there are hundreds of thousands of people working to preserve and protect our government, and fighting back against anti-voter laws, stepping up to serve as elections officials, and working to ensure that Congress passes pro-voter legislation despite special-interest abuse of Senate rules.”
Snyder-Hall said protecting voting rights is not enough. She said the system needs reform to get special-interest money out of government, end gerrymandering and end the practice of filibustering.
Joe Lawson, a member of Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice, urged those attending to contact their local legislators and demand voting reform in Delaware as well. “It's up to us to protect democracy and expand voting rights for all,” he said.
The Rev. Cathy Rion Starr held up a sign with the telephone number for Sen. Chris Coon's office. People attending the vigil made calls urging Coons to support voting reform legislation and push for an end to filibustering.
Snyder-Hall said several key pieces of legislation are pending in Congress – the Freedom to Vote Act, Protecting Our Democracy Act, For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. She said all are critical to election reform, but have been blocked by Senate Republicans.
She said the vigils are reminders to elected leaders that voters decide the outcomes of elections, and Congress must pass legislation to strengthen and protect the nation's democracy.