SURVIVORS VOTE - RALLY FOR CHANGE 10/7/18
About 100 active citizens of all ages, from Westport, Norwalk, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Wilton, Weston and New Caanan gathered to support survivors on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen bridge in Westport. We were joined by 203 Action, and collections were taken to donate to the Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport to support victims of domestic violence. This was the rally that received the most support from drivers on the bridge - cheering and honking from almost every car that passed by! The confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh has awoken a forceful cry of activism from women, men, and children alike. We know what to do: VOTE NOVEMBER 6th!
#WHEREARETHECHILDREN Rally 6/24/18
Just two weeks after our last protest, we found ourselves on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen bridge again, with Senator Dick Blumenthal, who had just returned from the detention centers in Texas, where they hold children after they have been separated from their parents.
KEEP FAMILIES TOGETHER PROTEST 6/10/18
It is unbelievable that we even need to protest this. In 6 weeks, 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at our borders. It's beyond imagination that a president could use this as a tactic to enforce immigration laws, and even more disgusting that Republican elected representatives are not standing up and making it stop.
Congressman Jim Himes joined our protest on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen bridge in Westport, and encouraged more activism to bring attention to these atrocities.
In addition to making noise and spreading awareness, please call your elected representatives to ask them to go to the border and stand up against this inhumane practice. And consider donating to www.aclu.org as they work to save these families.
#WEARORANGE DAY, June 2, 2018
Westport, CT and towns across America were spreading awareness about the National Health Crisis of Gun Violence on June 2, 2018, #WearOrange Day. Thank you to DefenDemocracy members who helped to decorate the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge in Westport, and whose children passed out orange necklaces and ribbons for mailboxes at Compo Beach.
March for Our Lives, March 24, 2018
Our nation's kids are leading the way - and we are following. DefenDemocracy chartered a 55-seater bus to DC for March for Our Lives 2018. Every seat was paid for by individual donations following a "Buy-a-Teacher-a-Seat" drive on Facebook! This enabled us to take teachers (and student press!) to the march for free, so they could speak out against gun violence and the proposal to arm them in schools. Guns for teachers? No thanks. I'm a teacher and my students will tell you that 1. I can barely aim a tennis ball; 2. They can get into my desk. Locked or not.
Let's demand safety for our children. Now. #Enough #NotOneMore #EndGunViolence #
SECOND ANNUAL WOMEN'S MARCH, Jan 21, 2018
Defendemocracy represented in big numbers in both New York and Hartford at the second annual #WomensMarch2018! We raised our voices and promised to #VOTE in November! Change is coming.
For CTPOST'S coverage of both locations, click HERE.
12/10/17: Vigil to #endgunviolence at the Unitarian church in westport
As part of the nationwide events being held to mark the 5 years since the Sandy Hook shooting, we held a vigil at the Unitarian Church in Westport. DefenDemocracy was joined by Ct Against Gun Violence, Newtown Action Alliance, the Unitarian Church Social Justice Outreach, and Sandy Hook Promise. We were joined by Senator Richard Blumenthal, Sandy Hook Promise founder Mark Barden and his amazing vocalist daughter Natalie Barden, Susan Terry, who opened and closed the event with her a capella performance, pianist Rob Silvan, a poem read by Nancy Lefkowitz of the Brady Campaign and CAGV, speakers Jeremy Stein of CAGV, Conor Pfeifer of the Norwalk Triangle Community Center, Community Outreach Advisor Carolyn Vermont, former Sandy Hook teacher Abbey Clements, and sister of domestic violence victim Yvonne Crasso. With special thanks to Sara Kempner, Wendy Epstein, Monica LaMontagne, Jennifer Clement, Heidi Hammer, Bobbi Essagof, Nancy Aldrich, Laura Bryer, Marjorie Watt and Doug Watt, and the volunteer coordinator extraordinaire, Cathy Rozynek. The ever present theme of this event was unity, and how we can help each other mourn, and work together to prevent future tragedies.
How to help:
1. Donate to one of the organizations above.
2. Call your senators to demand strong gun safety laws (i.e. no bump stocks, no reciprocity).
3. Talk about gun safety with your families, and with each other. Staying away from the topic will not cause a shift.
9/14/17: "DACA Protest on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge in Westport"
We met on the bridge again, this time in response to defend Obama's DACA Act (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). This Act allows the children of illegal immigrants to remain in the country without fear of immediate removal from the U.S.
Trump's promises to repeal this act would exile college students and tear apart families. This is not who we are.
As we stood on the bridge that evening, two young men, who described themselves as Dreamers (children of immigrants), pulled over from their commute to work and came to the bridge to thank us with hugs and tears. They told us that we gave them hope. These are the moments that we know we are making a difference, and engaging in change.
9/13/17: "Honk Against Hate"
One of our members shared her need for support after the terrible racial storm in Charlottesville. She was planning to go to the bridge on her own to let her voice be heard. The very next day, dozens of us joined her to protest the odious comments made by Trump after the racial storms in Charlottesville, during which he blamed "both sides." Free speech is one thing, but speaking about white supremacists who are threatening people of color on a college campus crosses the line into inciting hatred and violence to our peaceful citizens. It is unpresidential, irresponsible, and racist. We will not allow this man to represent our country's ideals.
This protest served to remind passersby who we really are. Connecticut will continue to show where we stand, and we will not be quiet when our president disrespects us.
6/8/17: "Emerge America of CT Fundraiser"
On 6/8/17 we helped to inaugurate a CT chapter of EMERGE AMERICA (www.emergeamerica.org/emergeCT). Emerge trains and supports women for Democratic seats, and has a proven record of success: 70% of its graduates who ran last year won their seats! Our BBQ/Happy Hour fundraiser raised about $20k thanks to the generous donations and auction items, including a tour of the Capitol with Jim Himes, a day with Sec. of State Denise Merrill, and a day at Morning Joe with Mike Barnacle! What a fun night!
Donate here: http://www.emergeamerica.org/emergeCT (make sure you are donating to the CT chapter please)!
6/4/17: "Candlelight Vigil for Climate Protection"
Appalled by Trump's pullout of the Paris Climate Accord on June 1, 2017, we joined together to protest this callous and isolationist decision by standing on our bridge in Westport, CT, bearing candlelight and banners. The Ruth Steinkraus Cohen bridge has supported groups of protesters from 1917 to today.
News of our demonstration traveled across the country:
3/26/17: "CT on the MOVE" MARCH
What an amazing turnout! Hovering near 1,000 people, citizens from Westport and surrounding towns marched from Jesup Green to Veteran's Green, to an inspirational program of speakers: Senator Chris Murphy, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Jim Himes, Vice Chairperson of the State Democratic Party Dita Bhargava, Executive Director of Ct Against Gun Violence Ron Pinciaro, Executive Director of Ct League of Conservation Voters Lori Brown, Executive Director of NARAL Sarah Croucher, CEO of Planned Parenthood of CT Judy Tabar, State Representative Jonathan Steinberg, Chair of the Westport DTC Melissa Kane, and First Selectman of Westport Jim Marpe. This event was made possible by the persistence of Westport resident activists and DefenDemocracy members, Lisa Bowman, Darcy Hicks, Nita Prasad, and Lauren Soloff.
1/30/17: "POSTCARD WRITING PARTY"