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Candlelight vigil to mark one year after Jan. 6 insurrection to be held in DeKalb Thursday

DeKALB – A candlelight vigil organizers are calling “Defend Our Democracy,” will be held Thursday, Jan. 6 in DeKalb to mark one year since the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C.

The vigil will be from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday at Peace Corner in Memorial Park, at the corner of First Street and Lincoln Highway in downtown DeKalb, according to an announcement from organizers.

The event is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters DeKalb County and REACT (Responsive Engagement Activating Civic Talent).

Cynthia de Seife, coordinator of REACT, said DeKalb’s event will be part of a national effort, with more than 150 vigils occurring across the United States Thursday.

“What happened Jan. 6 last year was a terrible, terrible event,” de Seife said. “In order for a country to operate, it has to have laws and rules of operation. To attack the Capitol Building in order to disrupt the counting and certification of the votes to name the next president is a complete disruption of our government.”

Attendees of the gathering are asked to bring their own candles and signs and to dress warmly for the cold weather. Thursday’s temperatures could reach 7 degrees below zero at night, with a day high of 10, according to the National Weather Service.

Organizers also recommend participants wear a face mask during the vigil due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vigil will mark a year since the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection, and remember those who lost their lives that day. The Jan. 6 attack came after more than a month of nationwide unrest and controversy following the November 2020 Presidential Election, during which former-President Donald Trump falsely claimed that the election, in President Joe Biden’s favor, had been stolen.

In turn, a violent mob loyal to Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 and forced lawmakers into hiding, in an attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Biden from replacing Trump in the White House. Scores of capitol police were beaten and bloodied, five people died, and more than 700 people have since been charged.

De Seife said that the crux of the candlelight vigil is to preserve American democracy, and to remind people that the divisiveness which spurred the insurrection is not yet over.

“We must defend our democracy, the right to free and fair elections, and all of the freedoms we value regardless of our political parties,” de Seife said. “Making sure that the rules and laws that exist are followed is the very essence of American democracy, not storming the Capitol. It’s the very heart of what the United States is and how it functions and operates. It determines our democracy.”

Mary Nelson, co-president of the League of Women Voters DeKalb County, said Thursday’s even is to mark the day of the deadly attack on the nation’s capitol.

“We urge the nation to use this as a moment to come together with our communities, remember the attack and commit to taking action to fix our democracy,” Nelson said. “We must raise our voices and encourage others to do the same to help pass national voting rights protections against the discriminatory voting laws that are rapidly being enacted across our country.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.