Candlelight vigil held to mark anniversary of January 6 attack

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Pramila Jayapal speaking about her experience on Jan. 6, 2021. Photo: retweet by Jayapal on Twitter Jan. 6, 2022 @PramilaJayapal

Washington: Mathew Dillinson was in Los Angeles on January 6 last year, watching the news in disbelief as a violent mob descended upon the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, leaving him appalled at the state of his nation.

One year later, Dillinson was among the hundreds who gathered Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, evening in front of the U.S. Capitol to commemorate the anniversary of the 2021 attack on the US Capitol, participating in a display meant to promote protecting American democracy.
“It’s been overwhelming to see how the country has responded to the attacks and I’m here to stand up for that,” Dillinson said.

The vigil organized by a coalition of more than 100 liberal groups, saw a few hundred people gathered on the National Mall near the Capitol Reflecting Pool. The racially diverse crowd chanted and sang, seeking to transform last year’s pain into policy change.

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Several US lawmakers including Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, Congressman Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington,  D.C., spoke about their experiences inside the Capitol that day during the event.

“I remember every moment of it vividly. I remember the pounding on the doors of the insurrectionists. I remember crawling on my knees under banisters… thinking about how if I couldn’t get up and leave … I would attack the knees of whoever came to attack me,” Jayapal recounted at the vigil.

“I think our democracy is still fragile and we have to make sure that we actually protect accountability and justice,” the lawmaker told ANI.

Rep. Jamie B. Raskin, who mourned his son’s suicide and the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump following the attack., reflected on what happened on January 6.

Speaking to ANI, Raskin said his presence at the vigil was “for standing up and restoring democracy.”

Raskin is also a member of the January 6 House select committee and is tasked with investigating the cause and who was behind the Jan. 6 insurrection, among other things.

“The attack was not only an attack on democracy, but it was also an attack on the District of Columbia, where we are now standing,” Del. Norton said.

Speakers also demanded the Senate and Biden enact the Freedom to Vote Act, a voting rights bill, and the Protecting Our Democracy Act, which includes reforming oversight of the executive branch, among other legislation. They pointed to restrictive voting legislation passed by Republican-led state legislatures across the country and said the Jan. 6 attack highlighted the need for federal voting rights protections and expansions before the next election.
Demonstrators held signs reading “No Trump. No Lie. No G.O.P.”, “Voters decide outcomes of U.S. elections”, “senators protest our democracy now” and “DC statehood is racial justice.”
“We are looking to our elected officials to continue to investigate the insurrection but also to pass urgently needed voting rights legislation and democracy reform legislation that will protect this country,” said Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen, a progressive non-profit and one of the groups that organized the event.

The event was part of a nationwide demonstration called “We the People: January 6th Day of Remembrance and Action” which reportedly has more than 350 chapters nationwide.

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