By Lyra Halprin.
Sister District CA-3 volunteer, Lyra, Halprin, wrote a commentary that was featured in the Davis Enterprise. You can find it on the Davis Enterprise website here, or read on, below.
From the Davis Enterprise:
Commentary: Voting rights are urgent focus of Jan. 6 insurrection remembrance
Davis Vice Mayor Lucas Frerichs addresses the crowd at Thursdays rally to commemorate the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising in Central Park. Sue Cockrell/Couretsy photo
“Make no mistake, voting rights are the key to protecting our democracy and avoiding a coup in 2024,” Rep. John Garamendi told a crowd of 300 in Davis’ Central Park marking last year’s deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Garamendi reminded local activists that he and other representatives had “walked over broken glass and filth on the walls when we returned to the House floor that night to finish our hallowed work and certify the 2020 election.”
He asked the crowd to contact family and friends in Arizona and West Virginia and urge them to demand their senators support changes to the filibuster that would allow [the Senate] to pass voting rights legislation.
“Voting rights are more important than the filibuster,” he said.
Judy Beachler, Kathleen Stack and Michael Koltnow hold candles at Thursday’s vigil in Davis’ Central Park to mark the anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo
Winters City Councilmember Jesse Loren told the crowd that “it’s all of our responsibility to work to protect fair elections, available ballot boxes, and a fair process that can’t be usurped by unscrupulous extremists.”
“And when you’re discouraged by having to fight the same fight for fair elections over and over, I find poetry like Wendell Berry’s poem The Peace of Wild Things an inspiration,” she said.
Yolo County is an example of what voting rights should look like according to Jesse Salinas, Yolo County’s chief election official and county clerk/assessor.
“In our county of some 220,000 residents we offer vote by mail ballots to every registered voter and have 13 ballot drop boxes, compared to just one ballot drop box in Harris County, Texas with a population of 4.7 million,” Salinas said.
He also noted that, “despite the COVID 19 pandemic, Yolo County made voting more accessible, which led to an 83 percent voter turnout, the highest Presidential election voter turnout in more than 30 years.”
Martha Guerrero, mayor of West Sacramento, underscored the fact that Thursday’s gathering was 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 Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, which have already passed the House of Representatives and are on the Senate agenda this month.”
Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor told the crowd, “we must refresh the fundamental principle of our founding documents that no person is above the law.”
“We must support and implore the Senate to pass the Protecting our Democracy Act, not just for some of us but for all of us,” he said. “We do not yet know the full story of Jan. 6, 2021, because we the people, are still writing it. Let us remember that day and let us act to make that day only a cautionary memory.”
Lucas Frerichs, vice mayor of Davis, told the crowd he was heartened to see so many people gathered.
“You’re the ones who recognize the need to show up and speak out,” he said. “We have to actively participate and engage in order to ensure that we create the kind of country that upholds the values we believe in,” Frerichs said. “Davis Mayor Gloria Partida and I are proud to join with you today and will continue to work with you in the months ahead.”
Michelle Famula, board member of the sponsoring League of Women Voters-Davis, told the crowd that the night was also to honor and remember “those who defended our democracy a year ago,” noting the many law enforcement personnel who put their lives at risk and were injured protecting legislators.
Famula reminded people to “exercise your civic duty by contacting Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Alex Padilla tonight and throughout the week to let them know we’re counting on them to protect voting rights for all Americans,” she said. “Stay healthy and never doubt the power of your vote or your voice.”
Other speakers included representatives of the co-sponsoring organizations: Kate Laddish, Democracy Winters; Steve Murphy, Indivisible Yolo, and Kari Peterson and Kelly Wilkerson, Sister District-CA 3 representatives. Wilkerson is also a trustee of the Los Rios Community College District.