By Lyra Halprin
Special to the company
“Make no mistake, voting rights are the key to protecting our democracy and avoiding a coup in 2024,” Representative John Garamendi told a crowd of 300 in Davis’s Central Park marking the deadly attack on the January 6 against the US Capitol.
Garamendi reminded local activists that he and other officials “walked over broken glass and dirt on the walls when we returned to the Chamber floor that night to complete our sacred work and certify the 2020 elections ”.
He asked the crowd to contact his family and friends in Arizona and West Virginia and urge them to demand their senators support the filibuster changes that would allow Democrats to pass legislation on the right to vote.
“Voting rights are more important than filibuster,” he said.
Winters City Council member Jesse Loren told the crowd that “it is our responsibility to work to protect a fair election, available ballot boxes and a fair process that cannot be usurped by unscrupulous extremists” .
“And when you are discouraged that you have to fight the same fair election fight over and over again, I find poetry like Wendell Berry’s poem The Peace of Wild Things inspiring,” he said. she declared.
Yolo County is an example of what voting rights should look like according to Jesse Salinas, Yolo County Chief Election Officer and County Clerk / Assessor.
“In our county of some 220,000 people, we offer postal voting to every registered voter and have 13 ballot boxes, against a single ballot box in Harris County, Texas, with a population of 4.7 million.” , said Salinas.
He also noted that, “despite the COVID 19 pandemic, Yolo County made voting more accessible, which led to a turnout of 83%, the highest voter turnout in presidential elections in over 20 years. of 30 years ”.
Martha Guerrero, Mayor of West Sacramento, pointed to Thursday’s rally as a call to action.
“Preserving democracy by allowing all eligible voters to participate in elections is essential to eliminate voter suppression,” she said. “Today our call to action is to urge the Senate to pass critical voting rights legislation – the John Lewis Advancement of Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act,” which have already been passed by the House of Representatives and are on the Senate’s agenda this month. ”
Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor told the crowd, “We need to update the core tenet of our founding documents that no one is above the law.”
“We must support and implore the Senate to pass the law on the protection of our democracy, not only for some of us, but for all of us,” he said. “We don’t yet know the full story of January 6, 2021, because we the people are still writing it. Let us remember this day and act so that it is but an uplifting memory. “
Lucas Frerichs, Davis’ deputy mayor, told the crowd he was heartened to see so many gathered.
“You are the ones who recognize the need to come forward and speak out,” he said. “We need to actively participate and engage in order to ensure that we are creating the type of country that stands up for the values we believe in,” said Frerichs. “Davis Mayor Gloria Partida and I are proud to join you today and will continue to work with you in the months to come. “
Michelle Famula, a board member of the sponsoring League of Voters-Davis, told the crowd the evening should also honor and remember “those who stood up for our democracy a year ago,” noting the many members of the security forces who put their lives in danger. and were hurt while protecting lawmakers.
Famula reminded people to “exercise their civic duty by contacting Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Alex Padilla this evening and throughout the week to let them know that we are counting on them to protect the right to vote for all. Americans, ”she said. “Stay healthy and never doubt the power of your vote or your voice. “
Other speakers included representatives of the cosponsoring organizations: Kate Laddish, Democracy Winters; Steve Murphy, Indivisible Yolo, and Kari Peterson and Kelly Wilkerson, Sister District-CA 3 reps. Wilkerson is also District Administrator for Los Rios Community College.