OAKLAND, Calif. - A large crowd gathered in Oakland on Thursday to mark one year since the January 6th, 2021 siege on the US Capitol. The candlelight vigil, held outside Oakland City Hall, was co-organized by Resistance Actions East Bay, United Native Americans, Indivisible East Bay, and Activate America.
Speakers included Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and a number of community activists.
"One year ago today, we all thought it was going to be official. That this constant of American democracy, the peaceful transition of power would happen. How horrified, how frightened, how angry I felt when I saw that promise nearly ripped away," said Schaaf.
"It seemed surreal to me and then over time it really sank in that it actually happened," said Gary Lucks of Resistance Actions East Bay.
Organizers of the event, used the podium as an opportunity to urge Congress to pass several pieces of legislation tied to voter rights. They included the Freedom to Vote Act, the Protecting our Democracy Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and DC Statehood.
"This was the giant wake-up call for me and others, realizing that we have to get engaged, and we’re further away from a reliable democracy than I ever thought we were," said Lucks.
One woman in the crowd, Sonia Diermayer, decided to attend the rally last minute.
"I just felt like I have to do something, or I can’t sleep," said Diermayer. "I’m so worried that not enough of us are taking the aftermath of January 6th last year seriously enough, and just feel like we’ve got to raise the alarm."
Organizers say they hope that holding events like these will help ensure that another siege on the US Capitol never takes place.