Democracy Awakening: The Images That Stole Our Hearts

by Jenn Breckenridge

April 19, 2016

5,000 people marched and more than 300 people were arrested yesterday to awaken our democracy — and it was beautiful.

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Photo by Greenpeace / Jill Pape.

Yesterday, more than 300 people were arrested on the steps of the U.S. Capitol — all of whom were putting their bodies on the line to wake up a Congress that has gone to sleep on the people and on democracy itself.

This peaceful protest was the culmination of Democracy Awakening, a three-day event that — along with a week of similar actions by Democracy Spring — marks a high point in the pro-democracy movement. Together, the two coalitions issued a strong call for progress towards what a true democracy looks like: one that is of, by, and for the people.

The thousands who flooded in from all over the country to march and the hundreds that were arrested in protest are making three major demands of Congress: to get big money out of politics, expand voting rights and stop voter discrimination, and do its job and vote on a Supreme Court nominee.

Sunday’s march was incredible:

On Monday morning, those risking arrest made their way to the Capitol:

The protesters were arrested on the grounds of “crowding, obstructing or incommoding” during a non-violent sit-in on the Capitol. Just in case you aren’t familiar with the term incommoding, it means inconveniencing or distressing. Here’s what “inconveniencing” Congress looks like:

Arrests Monday included approximately 60 leaders of organizations and movements, including Cornell W. Brooks of the NAACP:

Aaron Mair of Sierra Club:

And Greenpeace’s own Annie Leonard:

Dedicated activists like Eva Resnick-Day and Dan Cannon risked arrest and reported their experience to people all over the world while it happened:

People of all ages and backgrounds were part of this non-violent direct action:

Even founders of a big, successful corporation stood proud for Democracy Awakening:

Long tweet short, it was a huge success:

Remember, you can support the Democracy Awakening movement from where you are. Take action today!

And all if this wasn’t quite enough Democracy Awakening for you, relive it here:

And here:

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