Source: Good Trouble Vigil Santa Barbara
A Good Trouble Candlelight Vigil for Democracy was held around the country last Saturday night – and here in Santa Barbara – marking one-year from the passing of Congressman John Lewis, to celebrate his extraordinary legacy and call on Congress to pass critical legislation to protect the freedom to vote in America, end gerrymandering, and get money out of politics to realize Congressman Lewis’ vision for a democracy that works for us all.
To do this, participants demanded that the Senate reform the filibuster and pass the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and DC Statehood before the Senate and Congress recess on August 6th.
“Congressman John Lewis never gave up on democracy and we won’t give up either. In order to strengthen our democracy we must protect the voices of every American and ensure that our voices are heard and represented,” said Dr. Denise Williams, local organizer of the Santa Barbara Candlelight Vigil Honoring the Legacy of Congressman John Lewis and Demanding National Standards to Protect Americans’ Freedom to Vote.
Richard Jenkins, a community member who is interested in fair and easy access to voting in all elections, began the vigil by reading Congressman Lewis’ Last Words published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, including his last appeal, “Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.”
The gathering was warm and interactive. Sojourner Kincaid Rolle brought people together singing “This Little Light of Mine” as everyone lit their candles. She read her poem, dedicated to Congressman Lewis and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I Stand to Keep Hope Alive, and led everyone in the civil rights anthem, “We Shall Overcome.”
Erica Reyes, District Director for Congressman Carbajal shared remarks on his behalf as he was in San Diego to help christen a Navy ship in honor of Congressman Lewis. Among her touching remarks she added:
“We know that the vote is the most non-violent tool in a democracy, and it is our job that we ensure it remains accessible to all Americans to fulfill their constitutional right to participate in our democracy. As states clamp down on the access to the vote, it is necessary that the federal government put into place protections that ensure the integrity of the vote – equitably – across the United States….The filibuster rules should be modified to ensure that partisan legislatures are not able to block access to constitutional rights.”
Michal Lynch, organizer of the Santa Barbara Women’s March, and Audrey Johnson closed the event with an appeal that, “everyone seeks the courage in this historic moment to heal, protect, and deepen our democracy.”