WALNUT CREEK – Black signs with lighted bulbs spelling “protect the freedom to vote” rose in unison as 23 pro-Democratic protesters gathered on the corner of Main Street and Mount Diablo Boulevard in downtown Walnut Creek Thursday night to celebrate the anniversary of the failed coup at the US Capitol on 6 January.
Dozens shouted “popular power” as the group gathered to honor the officers who died and stopped the uprising in Washington, DC, or shortly thereafter. Community organizers also seized the opportunity to promote the adoption of suffrage laws, which are now being worked through Congress.
Ogi Strogatz, one of the main organizers of Indivisible ReSisters Walnut Creek, the group that gathered, said the protesters were gathered mainly to commemorate the deadly attack on democracy and ensure that it never happens again. She called the events of January 6 too horrific and surreal to witness, as someone who grew up taking democracy for granted.
“Senate must pass immediately the two pieces of legislation in front of it – that’s why we are here, ”said Strogatz. “We need to make a big, sustained noise, especially over the next two weeks, to make sure every senator knows that this is what most of us overwhelmingly want. We want a vibrant democracy. We will “have government with the consent of the governed. We want free and fair elections, no gerrymandering, no election undermining, no dark money. That is what most of us want.”
Ligaya MacGregor of San Ramon told this news organization she could not believe what she saw when she saw the news on January 6 last year.
“Just watching other Americans attack our Capitol… just the lack of respect and horror at it all, I could not believe it. But after the four years that passed before that, I guess I should not have been surprised that such a thing happened , “Said MacGregor.” I still believe in the best in America, and I hope people wake up and start getting their news from factual places, and that brainwashing stops – I hope so. “
Dawn Lorenzen of El Sobrante showed up to make sure people realize that American democracy is fragile and needs to be protected from yet another possible attack from within.
“I think [an insurrection] could happen again, that’s why I’m here – to make sure people are aware that they have to fight for this democracy, “Lorenzen said, adding that she hopes it can be avoided.” I think That’s why we’re here: if more people are aware that they have to vote for it, there’s less chance it’s going to happen again. “
Sandy Fink felt she had to come out and say no.
“It was a riot – it was not a rally. This is a convention. It was a revolt, “Fink said. “We have to say no, we have to get people to vote, we have to protect our rights.”
The first of two bills designed to extend and protect voting rights is Law on the freedom to vote, sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and introduced in September last year.
On the ground next to the protesters in Walnut Creek lit candle signs that read “Protect the Vote” with the face of the late Congressman and civil rights activist John Robert Lewis, after whom the second suffrage law under consideration is named.
The following names and descriptions of five Capitol police officers who have died since January 6 were first reported by the New York Times:
Officer Brian D. Sicknick of the Capitol Police, who was attacked by the mob, died on January 7th.
Officer Howard S. Liebengood by Capitol Police shot and killed himself on January 9th.
Officer Jeffrey Smith of the Metropolitan Police Department also died of suicide on January 15th.
Officer Kyle DeFreytag died of suicide on July 10th.
Officer Gunther Hashida died of suicide on July 29th.
Because police authorities have not classified the suicides as “line of duty” deaths, the families of the victims are still not eligible to receive improved benefits. Serena Liebengood, Officer Liebengood’s wife and a diagnostic radiologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, published an editorial which marked the one-year anniversary of the failed coup and urged police departments to recognize suicides as deaths.
Four members of the violent mob that rushed to the U.S. Capitol, destroyed public property and tried to chase members of Congress, also died:
Ashli Babbitt, an air force veteran, was shot and killed by a Capitol police officer as rioters tried to break into the house’s chamber.
Kevin D. Greeson died of a heart attack and collapsed on the sidewalk west of the Capitol on January 6th.
Rosanne Boyland was crushed in a rush by other rioters as they stormed against police. The Washington District Attorney later determined that Boyland’s death was caused by an accidental overdose.
Benjamin Philips, the founder of a pro-Trump website called Trumparoo, died of a stroke.