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In this era of heightened partisanship and congressional inaction, citizens are taking action by standing up for what’s right. Renaldo Pearson, 2019 National Citizen Leadership Conference Citizen Leader Award winner and director of external affairs at RepresentUs, took it one step further by walking for what’s right.
Pearson organized a protest last year to demand an end to political corruption, leading the nearly 700-mile Democracy911 walk from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. This demonstration culminated on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, with protesters calling for an end to political corruption.
The Democracy911 platform included demands that “all presidential candidates pledge to address comprehensive democracy reform in the first 100 days of their administration” so that “the U.S. Senate passes a bipartisan alternative to HR 1 (the For the People Act) implementing three reforms: protect our right to vote, make elections secure and competitive, and end political corruption (including campaign finance reform).”
Pearson says the myriad threats to democracy can’t be addressed until we fix the most fundamental one: big money in politics. The unbridled flow of money into the political system affects voters on both sides of the aisle, ushering in corruption, gerrymandering and lack of transparency. But alongside the growing grassroots movement for the 28th Amendment to get big money out of politics, more citizen leaders like Pearson—a D.C. native and alumni of Morehouse College, the alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—are rising up to reclaim their voice in democracy.