Press Release

Democracy Awakening and “Congress of Conscience” Conclude with Thousands Demanding Democracy Reforms

April 19, 2016

BALTIMORE, MD – Democracy Awakening, a mass mobilization of nearly 300 organizations representing the labor, peace, environmental, student, racial justice, civil rights and money in politics reform movements, gathered in Washington, D.C. April 16-18 to send a message to our legislative leaders: advance reforms to protect voting rights, get big money out of politics and demand an up or down vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. Thousands of activists from around the country streamed into the nation’s capital for Democracy Awakening, which featured teach-ins, a rally, a march and lobbying as well as civil disobedience.

On its final day, Democracy Awakening culminated in the NAACP-led “Congress of Conscience,” where thousands of activists marched to the U.S. Capitol with the message:  On voting rights, money in politics and the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, Congress is failing to do its job and ignoring the will of the people. Combined with the week-long Democracy Spring mobilization, the week’s actions featured what may have been the largest civil disobedience action during this century, and the largest democracy-focused protest in a generation. Over the past week, thousands came from around the country – from virtually every state in the nation – to march, rally, attend teach-ins and engage in civil disobedience.

More than 300 organizations endorsed Democracy Awakening. Lead organizations of Democracy Awakening included the NAACP, American Postal Workers Union, Common Cause, Communications Workers of America, Democracy Initiative, Every Voice Center, Food & Water Watch, Franciscan Action Network, Greenpeace, National Nurses United, People For the American Way, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, Student Debt Crisis and U.S. PIRG.

Democracy Awakening is part of a broad movement aimed at advancing democracy reforms. The mobilization began April 2, with Democracy Spring, an event that featured a march from Philadelphia to Washington D.C., followed by six days of sit-ins at the Capitol.

  • Number of days of action in Washington, D.C.: 8
  • Number of people arrested for protesting on behalf of democracy, April 11-18: more than 1,300
  • Number of people who attended Sunday’s march and rally: 5,000
  • Number of people who attended Saturday’s teach-ins: 750
  • Number of people who lobbied Congress on Monday: 150
  • Number of people who marched 140 miles from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.: 160