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Insurrection anniversary vigil in Duluth aims to ‘bring back democracy’

The League of Women Voters in Duluth hosted a “We the People Day of Remembrance and Action” vigil Thursday.

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Carl Crawford, human rights officer for the city of Duluth, speaks on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, to the crowd during the We the People Day of Remembrance and Action Vigil to remember the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
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DULUTH — Even in Thursday’s subzero temperatures, dozens rallied on City Hall steps to join in on a mission and a message for the community.

The vigil was organized by the Duluth League of Women Voters Duluth, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth, Grandmothers for Peace and Veterans for Peace, among others.

The event marks the anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol that left the country shocked.

“What we saw on display was the lack of faith in the very democracy they proposed to be standing for,” the Rev. Anthony Galloway of St. Mark A.M.E. Church said during the vigil.

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The Rev. Anthony Galloway, pastor of St. Mark A.M.E. Church, speaks to the crowd during the We the People Day of Remembrance and Action Vigil at Duluth City Hall on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Meg Litts, president of the League of Women Voters in Duluth, said the vigil aimed to “bring back democracy” by creating a sense of solidarity for the community.

The League of Women Voters said the event is an effort to honor the five lives lost on Jan. 6, 2021, and take action for all voices to be heard across the Northland in a ”peaceful” vigil.

“When incidents like this happen, clearly there are people who feel that they are not being heard. And what we're trying to promote is that idea that we engage in having our voices heard,” Litts said, “With our words, with our vote, and not with weapons and acts of violence.”

Vigil co-host Ann Fryberger said the attack was unforgettable.

“I was so dismayed,” Fryberger said.

Fryberger is the president of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth's board of trustees. She said she and the church wanted the event to open the eyes of Northland community members and call for unity amid political division.

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The crowd at the We the People Day of Remembrance and Action Vigil stay bundle up as they brave frigid temperatures in Duluth on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 6, 2022. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

SEE ALSO:

  • Biden calls Trump threat to democracy on anniversary of Capitol attack Speaking at the white-domed building that was the scene of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot, Biden warned that Trump's false claims that the election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud could unravel the rule of law and undermine future elections.
  • Rochester woman charged in Jan. 6 insurrection has a new lawyer, and new legal strategy Claiming she was a victim of police brutality, she emerges as a sympathetic figure in conservative media.
  • Record number of U.S. firms change tack on political spending after Jan. 6 attack

“Both sides have opinions and things that should be weighed. But not to the decline of democracy,” Fryberger said. “I think by opening their minds and their hearts to the idea that we can work together, even though we may not have the same goals. We can have different goals, but it doesn't mean that we can't work together toward what we each want.”
Attendee Scott Laderman said participation in this vigil is only one step toward many.

“If we don’t show up, we risk losing the democratic institutions we all rely on in order to ensure our liberties and freedoms of this country,” Laderman said.

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Sandy Grandmaison, from the League of Women Voters of Duluth, welcomes the crowd during the We the People Day of Remembrance and Action Vigil on the steps Duluth City Hall on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 6, 2022. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Laderman added he believed standing in solidarity is essential in contributing a change to local and national leaders.

“I think it’s important that we show up so we can send a message to policymakers, elected officials that we expect them to do the right thing,” Laderman said. “Together we can force change."

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The Duluth vigil was one of 200 events hosted across the country by the League of Women Voters, including at the U.S. Capitol.

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Duluth City Clerk Chelsea Helmer speaks to the crowd about the importance of a fair election during the We the People Day of Remembrance and Action Vigil at Duluth City Hall on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

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