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Democracy Rising: Revitalizing the Grassroots

Written by on Thursday, January 4, 2024

Fogartyville will be hosting an event to celebrate democracy on the day it was shaken: January 6.

By Johannes Werner

Original Air Date: Jan. 3, 2024

Host: The third anniversary of January 6, 2021 is approaching, and local activists will begathering this Saturday, Jan. 6, in an event they call Democracy Rising, Revitalizing the Grassroots. Our news team talked to Carol Lerner, one of the organizers.

Johannes Werner: That’s the sound of Physical Plant. The local band with roots at New College will be playing this Saturday, 7:30, at an event at the Fogartyville Community Center in Sarasota that is trying to remind people of the Jan 6, 2021 taking of Capitol Hill that shook Democracy in the United States.

The Charlotte-Sarasota Progressive Caucus of the Democratic Party, which is the organizer, titled the event Democracy Rising, Revitalizing the Grassroots. According to Carol Lerner, chair of the caucus, they want this to be not just a rallying cry for local grassroots groups, they want it to be fun as well, and that’s where Physical Plant comes in.

Carol Lerner: I think everybody knows what happened on January 6th 2021. When our democracy was challenged, it was a situation that really could’ve led to a complete takeover of our country. Now that is seared, I think the images from that are seared in everybody’s mind. Our thought is, let’s use January 6 as a day to actually build democracy. And that is the theme. It’s gonna be a fun night, basically a celebration.

JW: It’s grassroots groups, and particularly young people that will be in the spotlight at Democracy Rising.

CL: We’re entitling it Democracy Rising: Revitalizing the grassroots. Because we believe that it’s the grassroots organization ,and we have quite a few in Sarasota and quit a few that will be coming and speaking, that are actually key to building our democracy, and in some cases actually rebuilding our democracy, because it has been damaged. 

Here are some of the speakers: There’s Zander Morics, recent Pineview grad and founder of SeeSpace, whose rant about Bridget Ziegler’s hypocrisy went viral; there’s Jono Miller, with Save New College; there will be Jetson Grimes, organizer of the Martin Luther King Day Unity Walk; there’s Sebastian Martinez of the Sarasota Youth Association, Sarah Parker of Women’s Voice of Southwest Florida, Jules Rayne of Equality Florida, Alec Wilcosky of the West Central Florida Labor Council, as well as a representative of Moms Demand Action.

Lerner is nothing short of ambitious. She says she wants the Jan. 6 events to become a movement.

CL: We view it as both a fun event, a celebration to start organizing campaigns, and an event for people just to network, to get to know one another, of the groups that are actually doing things to preserve and improve our democracy. So we’re hoping that this will start a movement. 

JW: To register and find out more, go to wslr.org and click on the “Democracy Rising” tab, on the top left of the homepage.

Reporting for WSLR News, this has been Johannes Werner.

WSLR News aims to keep the local community informed with our 1/2 hour local news show, quarterly newspaper and social media feeds. The local news broadcast airs on Wednesdays and Fridays at 6pm.