Friday, April 15th

11:15am Democracy Spring & DC Vote Rally for DC Emancipation Day
Folks in town for the Democracy Awakening are encouraged to participate as they are able with our sister mobilization – Democracy Spring – in actions taking place Friday. Rally for full rights for District of Columbia residents on DC Emancipation Day, followed by a march around the Capitol and direct action. As with Awakening, anyone engaging in Spring direct action must complete training first. More information.

WHERE: The Rally will take place on the West Lawn of the Capitol

7pm Democracy Double Feature Movie Night: Free for All: One Dude’s Quest to Save Our Elections and Pay2Play: Democracy’s High Stakes

WHERE: St. Stephen’s Church, 1525 Newton St NW, Washington, DC 20010

7pm-9pm: Join us for pizza and a double feature of Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes and Free For All: One Dude’s Quest to Save our Elections. These are two highly acclaimed, fun films that are on point about the problems we are facing with our money overpowering our democracy and electoral system. Both films offer viable solutions that will help prepare us for the weekend of action. The films will also be followed up with Q&As with the filmmakers. This is a joint activity with ally coalition Democracy Spring. RSVP.

Saturday, April 16th

WHERE: All Souls Church Unitarian, 2835 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20009 Please enter on Harvard St. NW.

12pm-Art Build: make signs, learn how to silkscreen, and street art! – All Souls Gym (lower level)*
Be part of making the democracy movement message powerful AND beautiful.*Note only the upper level of the gym is wheelchair accessible.

1pm-1:50pm: Kickoff: Voting Rights, Money In Politics United in Struggle – All Souls Sanctuary

Panelists: Moderator – Stacey Long Simmons (National LGBTQ Taskforce); Marge Baker (People For the American Way); Ari Berman (The Nation); Derek Cressman (author, When Money Talks)

2pm-2:50pm: 1st Workshop Block

Environment and Democracy-All Souls Sanctuary
A panel discussion on the intersections of environment and democracy, highlighting examples of corporate influence as well as local solutions and victories. A Q&A and discussion will follow.

Presenters: Lindsey Berger (UnKoch My Campus); Brenda Brink (Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement); Wenonah Hauter (Food and Water Watch); Courtney Hight (Sierra Club)

Democracy at a Crossroads: Fighting the Interconnected Attacks on Unions, Voting Rights, and Campaign Finance Laws – Eaton Room
The right to vote, the right to be heard in our elections, and the right to bargain for better treatment in the workplace — they’re all under attack in a concerted effort to increase political inequality by giving big donors and corporate interests more influence in our elections at the expense of everyone else. We’ll explore how these attacks on our democracy are part of a three-pronged effort to give an elite group of wealthy Americans too much power. We’ll show how groups like the Democracy Initiative are mobilizing millions of Americans to come together to fight back and create a more reflective democracy.

Presenters include: Moderator Jerame Davis (PRIDE at Work); Greg Moore (NAACP); Jessica Newman (Communications Workers of America); Nick Nyhart (Every Voice)

Billion $ Wars: How Money Out of Politics Will End American Militarism and Make a More Peaceful World – Longfellow Room, 2nd Floor
Big money, private interests, and massive corporations aren’t just buying our elections– they are pushing our country towards costly, never-ending wars. By releasing our political system from the chokehold of big money, we are not only returning the US democracy to its rightful owners, the US citizens, we are striking a blow to the military-industrial complex.

This interactive workshop will help outline how war is about money too, and who is making billions while millions die in unnecessary warfare. Participate in fun activities and group discussions with key figures of the peace movement to see what we can do to create a more peaceful world.

Presenters: Medea Benjamin (CODEPINK); Phyllis Bennis (Institute for Policy Studies); Rebecca Green (CODEPINK); Michael Knox (U.S. Peace Memorial)

Separate & Unequal: DC’s Renewed Struggle for Voting Rights & Equality – Tupper Room
Americans who live in Washington, D.C. are a separate and unequal class, bearing all the burdens of citizenship but denied voting representation in the U.S. Congress and the rights of local self-governance.

The workshop will explain the history of second-class citizenship of D.C. residents, and the emergence of the statehood movement in the 1990s, as D.C. grappled with financial and political crisis. Explore the recent circumstances that led to a renewed commitment to statehood as the most straightforward path to equality for the people of Washington, D.C. Learn about the nuts and bolts of creating the state of New Columbia, how we achieved significant momentum in the U.S. Congress since 2010, and the prospect for further advances in 2016.

Presenters will include: Johnny Barnes (Living With the Law); Franklin Garcia (D.C. Shadow Representative); Anisa Jenkins (Stand Up! For Democracy in DC); Kim Perry (DC Vote); Moderator Eugene Puryear (DC Statehood Green Party)

3pm-3:50pm: 2nd Workshop Block

Criminal Justice Reform and Democracy-All Souls Sanctuary
With an awesome panel of activists and advocates, this workshop will explore how systemic problems in our democracy, including big money in politics and attack on the right to vote, impede criminal justice reform, and how democracy reforms can help advance criminal justice reforms. We will discuss challenges and identify solutions and opportunities for collective work.

Presenters include Daniel Carillo (Enlace); John P. Comer (Communities United’s successful campaign to restore the vote in Maryland); Damon L. Daniels (Demos); Tam Doan (Every Voice); April Goggans (Black Lives Matter DMV); Reginald Smith (Communities United’s successful campaign to restore the vote in Maryland)

Building Youth Power Around Democracy Issues – Pierce Hall
Through our interactive, youth-led workshop, we will discuss issues relevant to youth voters, such as barriers to voting access for young people, the rising costs of college and student debt, and the influence of conservative investors on higher ed curriculum. We will have breakout sessions corresponding to the issues and will focus on the barriers, solutions, and tactics addressing each one. Participants will leave with a one-pager of tangible next steps.

Presenters include: Erik Lampmann (Young People For); Elise Orlick (US PIRG).

Small Donor Democracy: Bringing a National Movement to District Elections – Eaton Room
The workshop will focus on small donor empowerment solutions generally, and the DC Fair Elections Coalition in particular. The workshop will commence with an overview of a successful state small donor empowerment program from Maine or Connecticut, from one of the local leaders in the democracy community from those states. Representatives of the DC coalition, whose leadership reflects the diversity of the district, will then discuss how small donor empowerment will advance the cause of racial equity and empower everyday DC residents on issues ranging from housing affordability to living wages and the Exelon deal.

Presenters include: Delvone Michael (DC Working Families); Ericka Taylor (DC Fair Budget Coalition); Congressman John Sarbanes (MD-3); and moderator Emma Boorboor (U.S. PIRG)

How the TPP Trumps Democracy – Longfellow Room

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the latest sneak attack on our democracy disguised as a “free trade agreement”. Negotiated in secret for seven years with undue influence of 500 corporate advisors, the TPP would expand disastrous rules that incentivize job offshoring, push down wages, threaten our climate, increase unsafe food imports, drive ever higher medicine prices, and subvert our democratic process and courts. The elite political class has systematically misread the depth of voters’ ire about the harm done by 20 years of so-called “free trade” deals supported by Democratic and GOP presidents. Learn how growing public ire about undemocratic, job-killing, polluter-friendly trade policies are shaping the election and how to fight back.

Presenters include: Melinda St. Louis (Public Citizen); Ben Beachy (Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program), Mike Dolan (Teamsters); Andrea Miller (People Demanding Action)

Digital Tools for Grassroots Activists – Library

In order for “We The People” to take back our democracy, we need to bring people together and build local campaigns to take back our democracy. We will share skills and tools that activists are using to build civic engagement and collective action at the national level and the local level in campaigns across the country. As a group, we will learn from each other’s experiences, and share digital and organizing strategies to win crucial fights in 2016 and the future.

Presenters will include: Moderator Izzy Bronstein (Common Cause); Emilia Gutierrez (Center for Community Change); Katy Kiefer (Food and Water Watch); Andrew Snyder (TurboVote)

4pm-4:50pm: Solutions – Sanctuary
Learn about the top priority and most winnable state and city level campaigns for voting rights, big money in politics and assure the process works for confirming a Supreme Court nominee.

Presenters include: Jamiah Adams (MoveOn);John Bonifaz (Free Speech for People); Ellen Buchman (Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights); Chris Melody Fields Figueredo (Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law); Will Roberts (Every Voice); Zachary Roth (MSNBC)

5pm-5:50pm: State/Local Breakout Sessions – Sanctuary
Don’t miss your chance to connect with others and take a stronger more unified movement group and plan home to your state or city. Facilitators will outline 1-2 winnable efforts for voting rights and money in politics reforms in each state, together we’ll come up with a game plan for how to work together after the mobilization and win.

Breakouts are confirmed for New York (Library), Connecticut, District of Columbia (Tupper Room), Maryland (Longfellow Room), and Virginia (Eaton Room) but will cover the mid-Atlantic and more than a dozen states in all from Texas to Michigan to Florida. If you are coming from the South, Midwest, Plains, Southwest or Western part of the country and know there will be 5+ people from your state at the teach-in, please email Dan Smith

6pm-6:50pm: Dinner Break – Pierce Hall
Greek food will be available for purchase in limited quantity. Guarantee you’ll get a meal by reserving it in advance. There are other food options in the neighborhood within walking distance though timing is tight.

7pm-9pm: Volunteer & Non-Violent Direct Action Training
Volunteers for the Sunday Rally must attend first part of training.
Activists MUST attend a training in order to participate in Monday’s Direct Action: Sign up here

7pm-9pm: Evening Program & Film – Pierce Hall

Jamiah Adams (MoveOn) will introduce the premier of MoveOn’s new Voting Rights video with Robert Reich.

Hilary O. Shelton (NAACP) will give opening remarks regarding his experience advocating to save lives with background checks in Congress against the NRA’s well-funded opposition.

Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films presents Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA

Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and The NRA tells the stories of how guns, and the billions made off of them, affect the lives of everyday Americans. It features personal stories from people across the country who have been affected by gun violence, including survivors and victims’ families. The film exposes how the powerful gun companies and the NRA are resisting responsible legislation for the sake of profit – and thereby putting people in danger.

The film looks into gun tragedies that include unintentional shootings, domestic violence, suicides, mass shootings and trafficking – and what we can do to put an end to this profit-driven crisis. Through this film and campaign, Brave New Films will work with partners to fight for a country where public safety is more valued than profit. $5 suggested donation. RSVP

9pm-12 am: After Party at Club Heaven and Hell 2327 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Featuring music by Northeast Corridor, D.C.’s hottest cover band and #1 live karaoke band. Also featuring DC comedians: Max Wolfson; Kevin Tit; Matt Dundas; Kasha Patel; Dee Ahmed

Plus a special performance by comedian Lee Camp, host of Redacted Tonight with Lee Camp on RT America. $5 suggested donation.

Sunday, April 17th

A = Rally location
DA rally location

The events will take place in front of the U.S. Capitol. Gather at 3rd St. NW in front of the Capitol Reflecting pool between Madison Drive NW and Maryland Ave SW.

12:30pm-1pm: Music and Gathering
Funk band Aztec Sun will perform

1pm-3pm: Rally for Democracy
The Rally for Democracy will feature live music and voices from the democracy movement across the nation who are making positive change for voting rights and the integrity of our elections.

Speakers include: Rev. William Barber II, President of the NC NAACP; Cornell William Brooks, President & CEO of the NAACP; David Goodman, President of the Andrew Goodman Foundation; Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of the Food and Water Watch; Dolores Huerta, cofounder of the United Farm Workers Union with Cesar Chavez; Jim Hightower, radio commentator & activist; Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA biologist; Aaron Mair, President of the Sierra Club; Sandra Steingraber, biologist & anti-fracking activist; Reverend Ezra Tillman, First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Flint, Michigan; Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen

Award-winning a capella group Sweet Honey in the Rock, vocalist and songwriter Rochelle Rice, and jazz artist Mark Meadows will perform. More music and speaker information coming soon.

3pm-4 pm: March around the Capitol
We will circle the Capitol to call on Congress to stand up for democracy and stop blocking the reforms we need. We’ll march by the U.S. Supreme Court that issued the disastrous Citizens United and Shelby County rulings which opened up our elections to sustained attack by anti-democratic action by state and private actors working to undermine our right to a voice in our own government. After circling the U.S. Capitol we’ll end up in at Columbus Circle in front of Union station where we’ll hold a Faith rally and folks can board their buses.

March Route

4:30pm-5:30 pm: Faith Rally in Columbus Circle


On Sunday afternoon after marching to Columbus Circle in front of Union Station, Democracy Awakening will be holding a faith vigil at 4:30pm where we will be gathering to lift our voices in prayer and action. Faith leaders will tell the story of “The Golden Calf” and explain how idolatry of money in the United States today is stifling our democracy and therefore that we must get money out of politics.

Presenters will include: Chief Dennis Coker (Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware); Imam Yahya Hendi (Chaplain at Georgetown University); Rev. William Lamar (Metropolitan AME); Rabbi Gilah Langner; Rabbi Mordechai Liebling (Reconstructionist Rabbinical College); Rev. Linda Olson Peebles (Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington); Rabbi David Shneyer (Am Kollel Synagogue)

5:30-8pm: After the Rally Meet & Greet w/ Latinos Democracy Advocates event hosted by DC Latino Caucus

In support of Democracy Awakening, rally for food, drinks, and specials to meet/network with Latino activist and community leaders working for Democracy! The event will start at 5:30pm to 8pm at a great establishment in one of DC’s diverse neighborhoods, H street.

Where: PoBoy Jim Bar & Grill, 709 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002. Six blocks from Union Station (Columbus Circle)

A percentage of proceeds from sales will be donated to the DC Latino Caucus as we continue to actively work on behalf of Washington, DC residents and the democracy rights of the Latino Community.Facebook Event

7-9pm: Non-Violent Direct Action Training
Activists MUST attend a training in order to participate in Monday’s Direct Action: Sign up here.

WHERE: St. Stephen’s Church St. Stephen’s Dining Room (Lower level) – Use side entrance through the small parking lot. 1525 Newton St NW, Washington, DC 20010

Monday, April 18th – Congress of Conscience

Monday please choose between taking part in Direct Action OR the Advocacy Day:

Direct Action

Training: Activists MUST attend a training on Saturday, Sunday, and/or the action briefing on Monday morning. Sign up for training.

Who: Democracy activists: labor, racial justice, faith, environmental groups & hundreds of concerned citizens

Bring: Your ID, $50 cash in case of arrest, your friends, essential medication in its proper prescription bottle.

Wear: Your “Sunday best” – it will show that we are unified and serious about this issue.

8am sharp: Training in the Columbus Club within East Hall inside of Union station. Come early to make sure you make it on time.


845 am: Kickoff Rally at Columbus Circle


9:45am: Step off for action

For more information: Check out direct action page and the Activist FAQ.

Advocacy Day

Gather with attendees from Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) for kickoff at Area 9 on Capitol Hill between Northwest Drive and 1st St SE directly to the right of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

9am-9:45am: Kickoff begins
On Monday morning, April 18th before the Democracy Awakening Lobby Day we will have a “sending forth” with faith leaders and members of Congress before we head to their offices to advocate for voting rights and getting money out of politics.

Presenters include: Marge Baker (People for the American Way); Doug Grace (Ecumenical Advocacy Days); Pastor Barry Hargrove (Prince of Peace Baptist Church, Baltimore); Rabbi Barbara Weinstein (Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism)

10am: Leave kickoff grounds

10:30am: Assemble at House and Senate staging areas for Lobby Day trainings (EAD folks will start meetings.)

11:30am: Complete trainings, including assignment and materials distribution

11:30am-12:30 pm: Lunch on your own – There are cafeterias in the House and Senate office buildings that offer very good food.

12:30pm-4:30pm: Meetings (targets and home delegations)

Pay2Play Screening and Panel Discussion at U.S. Capitol

7pm: Please join for a discussion on the influence of money in politics with Rep. Ted Lieu, Rep. John Sarbanes, Marge Baker, and Frances Moore Lappé followed by a viewing of the film Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes hosted by Rep. Ted Lieu.

According to a 2015 New York Times Poll, 84 percent of Americans agree that money plays too large of a role in politics. At this event, there will be a conversation about how Congress can fix our broken democracy and bills that have been proposed to restore American’s faith in their elected officials. The film features experts including: Robert Reich, Lawrence Lessig, Jack Abramoff and more.

Speakers include:Rep. Ted Lieu; Rep. John Sarbanes; Marge Baker (People for the American Way); Frances Moore Lappé (Small Planet Institute, author of Diet for a Small Planet).

Where: U.S. Capitol Visitor Center North Theater, enter at First Street and East Capitol Street on the East side of the U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC.

RSVP here or by emailing