A quick FAQ of why “the youths” are sitting on the Capitol steps this week.
If your Facebook and Twitter feeds are anything like ours, you’re probably noticing the #DemocracySpring popping up from place to place. If you’re also like us, you’re probably wondering what the hell it’s all about? Here’s a quick FAQ we conjured up to explain the basics of Democracy Spring.
What is Democracy Spring?
From what we can gather, it’s a play on words to evoke the Arab Spring movement back in 2011. Essentially it’s about a week’s worth of protests (mostly mass sit-ins and rallies) in front of the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. According to their website, the participants of Democracy Spring gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 2nd and marched south to congregate in Washington nine days later. Also the protest itself should be getting bigger with another group, Democracy Awakening, joining them from April 16th through the 18th.
So Who is Exactly Protesting in Democracy Spring?
If we’re talking demographic wise, from the people we talked to that are there, it’s mostly young, liberal, college students. But if were talking about organizations, there are over 100 organizations participating in the event with celebrities like rapper Talib Kweli and Mark Ruffalo endorsing it as well.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) April 13, 2016
What is Democracy Spring Protesting About?
Based on their website, they want Congress to pass four existing pieces of legislation that would do the following:
- The Democracy for All Amendment (HJR 22, SJR 5): This would limit undisclosed and big donor money in elections, more importantly it would overturn SCTOUS’ decision on Citizen’s United.
The Government by The People & Fair Elections Now Act (HR 20 and S 1538): The bill amplifies small donations during the election cycle, thus giving more clout to small donors.
The Voter Empowerment Act (HR 12): Would restore most of the powers in the Voting Rights Act and specifically loosen voting restrictions in many states.
The Voting Rights Advancement Act (HR 2867, S 1659): While it would also strengthen/modernize many elements in the Voting Rights Act, it would also curb rules to end gerrymandering of minority districts.
They are also asking Congress to confirm a Supreme Court nominee that would “ensure political equality by voting to protect voting rights and end the corruption of big money in politics.”
How Has The Turnout Been Thus Far?
Pretty good initially! On Monday more than 600 individuals showed up to the protest and most participated on the sit-in on the steps of the Capitol Building. In turn however, many of the sit-in protesters (around 400) were arrested by DC police for “disturbing the peace.” But as we heard from multiple accounts, this has deterred some from going back to the Capital until this weekend where more are told to attend.
Have the Protests Been Peaceful?
Absolutely! Everyone has stated the atmosphere of the protests have been friendly with people chanting, singing, and taking pictures.
Sooo… Have These Protests Been Effective?
Yeah, those are some hefty demands. Also considering most of those demands are liberal policies, can’t really see those passing a Republican controlled Congress…
Sorry, we’re just being honest here.
However, if their goal was to get more awareness to these specific forms of legislation, than you can say it has been so far a moderate success. Hell, we’re talking about, that’s got to be worth something, right?
(Photo Credit: @JoeHuffHannon Twitter, Democracy Spring’s Instagram)