In solidarity with the students on a hunger strike for our democracy
My name is Danielle Brecker. I am co-lead organizer of Empire State Indivisible. I am here representing the New York Fair Elections Coalition.
I am in awe of all of you on a hunger strike for our democracy and I thank you. You are taking a principled, powerful and profound stand for not only your future, but for the future of our entire country. It is my honor to stand in solidarity with you today in our country’s capital and I will carry your power with me every day as we fight on to save and grow our democracy.
This year in New York we had two groups use hunger strikes. This past spring, essential workers asking New York State. for covid relief and this fall, taxi drivers asking NYC for debt relief. Both of these hunger strikes ended in success by moving New York State and City lawmakers to pass needed policy and by engaging the public to stand with and advocate for their neighbors. Senator Schumer stood with the NYC taxi drivers and advocated for the needed policy to be passed by the city.
Senator Schumer is in a unique position as US Senate Majority leader, he has the power, given to him by the people of New York, to get the Freedom to Vote Act passed.
Today, as his constituent, I call on Senator Schumer to meet with you and listen to what you have to say about why you are on this hunger strike, and to carry your power with him as he fights to get the For the People Act passed before year’s end and save our democracy for ALL of us.
EVERYDAY for the last year the New York Fair Elections Coalition has pushed and worked with Senator Schumer to overcome the Senate filibuster, an arbitrary rule that obstructs our rights, and pass the Freedom to Vote Act for the people of New York, who gave Senator Schumer his power, and for all the people across our country who are counting on him. So we can continue to have a voice, so we can expand our democracy, so we can enfranchise more people — so we can continue to have a democracy!
I have no doubt that Senator Schumer knows what we expect, understands the urgency, and is fighting for us. We have made it clear with letters, rallies, phone calls, vigils, meetings, marches, civil disobedience, town halls and now a hunger strike. And he has made it clear by commiting to prioritize the Freedom to Vote Act, our democracy, and the people.
Even with his commitment it is urgent that we keep telling Senator Schumer why we are fighting for our democracy. Today, I tell Senator Schumer that my grandmother, “Mom-Mom” as I called her, was born before women had the right to vote but by the time she was of age, women had fought and won that right. So she could vote in every election in her lifetime and use her voice to better her and her family and her neighbors’ lives and give me a future and voice in that future.
Today I tell Senator Schumer that just over a year ago, along with hundreds of my neighbors, I stood in an early voting line that was eight NYC blocks long for four hours to vote — a scene that was repeated every day across New York State for over a week through Election Day. A scene that was repeated across our country. Because the people believed that our vote would better our future and save our democracy!
Today I tell Senator Schumer that in New York State, the Fair Elections Coalition. fought for and won small donor public match campaign financing for state elections to help get the big bad money out of New York State politics and return the power to the people. And that makes me believe we can do the same for our country.
Today I tell Senator Schumer that I traveled from Queens, New York to our country’s capital to stand in solidarity with students from a state far from New York, with students who may not agree with New Yorkers ideologically on every issue. Because without a fair, free, secure, people driven democracy NONE of us will have a fair, free, secure, people first future.
Today I tell Senator Schumer to come meet with all of you and carry your power with him as he fights to get the For the People Act passed before year’s end and save our democracy for all of us.