Statement on End of Capitol Sit-Ins

In the last eight days, we have done what many said was impossible — the largest American civil disobedience action of the 21st century. We have given new life to a democracy movement that can no longer be stopped.

From April 11th to the 18th, over 1,300 people were arrested on the steps of the US Capitol simply for demanding that Congress take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and ensure free and fair elections for all Americans.

Though the complicit corporate media resisted covering it, our historic action focused national attention on this crisis — and the surging movement to end it — like never before. From trending on Twitter and Facebook all week, to major coverage in NPR, USA Today, Rolling Stone, Democracy Now, and many more, the collective determination of hundreds of leaders and thousands of participants reached millions of people.

But despite this unprecedented action and shows of support from Bernie Sanders, reform champions in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and other members who stood with us on Twitter, on the floor of the House and Senate, and in the streets, the majority and leadership of Congress refused to respond at all. It could not be more clear: this Congress would rather put 1,300 people in police custody than simply do it's job to make sure that all Americans have an equal voice in our government.

Congress may not have listened, but the courage and sacrifice of the hundreds who were arrested day after day spoke loud and clear: the American people will no longer tolerate the status quo of corruption and inequality in our democracy.

We have drawn a line in the sand. Every candidate for public office in our country, from President down to city council must choose: stand with the People on the side of democracy, or with Big Money on the side of corruption. From this day forward, there will be a growing political price to pay for anyone who defends our billionaire-dominated political system or the voter suppression policies that compromise our fundamental right to self-government.

We the People have found strength, we have found courage, and we have found each other. From the spark of this moment in Washington, a movement will catch fire across the country, as grassroots leaders from all 50 states return to their homes and organize others to take nonviolent action to defeat those who stand in the way of reform.

To the defenders of the corrupt status quo we declare this: from your offices to your press conferences, debates, and fundraisers, and in the hearts and minds of every voter, we will expose you, we will disrupt you, we will shut you down. 

Across America, we will continue to escalate and force this issue into the headlines. We will make the 2016 election a referendum on whether we will live in a democracy for all or a plutocracy for the 1%.

Together, we have rung the bell of freedom and the hopeful sound will ring out across this nation and the months and years to come in this crucial struggle. Fundamental reform may not come this year or even next but that epic victory is now surely on the way. And when it comes and we look back from the heights of that hard-won success, we will remember these spring days of determination, all the miles marched, all the beautiful bodies gathered on the steps of the People’s House. We will remember this moment when we turned the tide and started the clock on the final days of this corruption.

A new day is dawning for democracy in America. Spring is indeed here. Not simply because the earth turns and the buds come out, but because when We the People rise and stand together we can change the very political weather of our nation and alter the course of history.

In the days to come we will be in touch about how we can move forward together in this fight. For now, let us take a moment to celebrate our success and spread the good news far and wide: a democracy movement is rising and it is time for millions more to join us.

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