Press release via email:
Californians Begin 480-Mile March for Democracy from L.A. To Sacramento
Marchers demand “one person, one vote” political equality, an end to Big money corruption in politics
Los Angeles, CA – On May 17th, dozens of activists led by the grassroots organization 99Rise will depart Los Angeles City Hall to embark on a 480-mile “March for Democracy” across the state of California to raise awareness and mobilize the public around the issue of big money in politics. They plan to complete their march at the state capitol building in Sacramento on June 22nd, where they will demand that the state legislature publicly acknowledge what they are calling “the crisis of corruption” and take immediate action to end it.
“This nation was founded on the principle of one person, one vote,” said Kai Newkirk, co-founder and organizer of 99Rise. “Generations of Americans have shed blood, sweat, and tears to make that principle a reality, from the abolitionists to women’s suffragists, to supporters of The Civil Rights Movement. But now their hard work and sacrifice is being systematically undermined by the out-of-control political spending of a small wealthy elite. It’s time for our generation to step up and do whatever it takes to reclaim democracy for the people of this country. That’s why we’re marching to Sacramento,” Newkirk explained.
The statewide march comes on the heels of two Supreme Court decisions—Citizens United vs. FEC and McCutcheon vs. FEC—that have further enabled wealthy donors to contribute even larger sums to candidates running for political office. 2012 was the most expensive election in the country’s history, with a price tag exceeding 6 billion dollars, but with only 0.04% of Americans contributing more than $200 to political candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Newkirk recently made headlines for his interruption of Supreme Court proceedings and his subsequent arrest, the first time such an act of civil disobedience has been caught on video.
The 480-mile march dubbed the “California March for Democracy” is endorsed by a number of prominent political organizations and activists including WolfPAC, Rootstrikers, Money Out Voters In, the Dream Defenders, and Noam Chomsky. Harvard University Professor of Law and political activist Lawrence Lessig will be walking a section of the march, as will long time labor and civil rights leader, Dolores Huerta.
“The fight against political corruption is one that must be taken up by a movement of citizens,” remarked Lessig. “It will take an army of ordinary people, from both the left and the right, doing the hard work that is needed to fundamentally reform our government and restore our democracy. No matter how difficult, how impossible it may appear, we must have hope. We have to fight.”