Thousands gathered at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Sunday to rally and march in protest of voting laws they consider discriminatory and the role money plays in the country’s political system. A group called “Democracy Awakening” — a coalition of dozens of groups ranging from the National Organization for Women to the NAACP — coordinated Sunday’s effort, not to be confused with the like-named group called “Democracy Spring” that made headlines this week for a series of mass demonstrations that ended with more than 900 people arrested for civil disobedience. The assembled protesters called for Congress to confirm President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination as well as restore and update the powers of the Voting Rights Act, according to USA TODAY.
“The Millennial generation, the generation of now, they have a phrase reflecting the civic and moral aspirations and ambitions of a generation and a time … And that phrase would be this: ‘stay woke,’” Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP, said at the rally. “It presupposes that one is awake. We are here in the nation’s capital because we are woke, we are conscious, we are awake, we are fired up about our democracy.”
Brooks outlined what he called the “three simple demands” of the protesters in his speech, which took place in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool. He called on members of Congress to “do their jobs” by confirming Merrick Garland’s nomination, a common theme throughout the day. He also demanded that “we get big corrupt money out of politics” and “ensure the integrity of the right to vote.”