Albany – On the one-year anniversary of the failed right-wing insurrection at the United States Capitol, State Senators Liz Krueger and James Sanders Jr. announced plans to introduce legislation to create an annual day of commemoration in New York State on January 6th called “Democracy Day,” to remember the terrible events of that day, honor those who were killed or wounded, and recognize the ongoing threat of anti-democratic, white nationalist, and authoritarian movements in the United States.
“One year ago today, the former president of the United States and his co-conspirators, including many leaders of the Republican Party, incited an armed insurrection against the government of the United States, with the express purpose of overturning the results of a free and fair election,” said Senator Krueger. “It was the first time since the Civil War that our country has not enjoyed a peaceful transfer of power. One Capitol Police officer died, over a hundred officers were injured, and four took their own lives in the aftermath of the attack. It is vital that we commemorate this terrible event to recognize their sacrifice and take a stand against the forces that threaten our democracy.”
“January 6, 2021 will live in infamy as a date when America was attacked by insurrectionists attempting to overthrow our cherished democracy,” said Senator Sanders. “Let this be a warning to us all that we must not only protect the democracy we have but expand and strengthen it. We must not allow the innumerable sacrifices made by countless people over many years since 1776 to have been in vain. Vigilance is the order of the day. This noble, although flawed, experiment must not perish from hateful people nor a neglectful citizenry. Democracy Day allows citizens to reflect on how far we have come and how far we have yet to go.”
On January 6th, 2021, while Members of Congress were engaged in certifying the results of the November general election, former President Donald Trump, members of his administration and presidential campaign, as well as Republican leaders and Members of Congress, incited and encouraged an armed and violent insurrection in the US Capitol with the goal of overturning the results of the election. During the attack, one Capitol Police officer and four rioters died, and one hundred thirty-eight officers were injured defending the Capitol from the Trumpist mob. In the months that followed the attack, four Capitol Police officers died by suicide. More than 700 people have been arrested in connection with the attack, however those most responsible have avoided accountability.
In the months leading up to 1/6, the President and many others in his party spread false and inflammatory claims regarding the legitimacy of the election, and both implicitly and explicitly promised violent or armed opposition to prevent the election from being certified and President-Elect Joe Biden from taking office.
In the course of their attack, the insurrectionists trespassed on and destroyed Federal property, including flagrantly looting the Capitol, and openly bragged about their exploits on social media. The attackers carried white supremacist symbols like the Confederate battle flag, as well as anti-Semitic and fascist symbols including swastikas. At the same time as many were carrying these symbols of the enemies of the United States, some of the attackers were observed removing the American flag, throwing it to the ground, and replacing it with a flag bearing the name of Donald Trump.
“It is critical that Americans never forget what happened one year ago, how close we came to losing our democracy, and how fragile our institutions remain,” Senator Krueger continued. “The forces of anti-democracy and anti-Americanism on the Right have not gone away – they are regrouping and reorganizing, with the continued support of leaders in the Republican Party. By commemorating Democracy Day, we will honor those who were wounded or died as a result of defending the Capitol, recognize the need to protect our democratic institutions, and continue to loudly call out anyone providing cover for white nationalism and authoritarianism. If we fail to remain vigilant, we could see the events of 1/6 repeat themselves with a much more destructive outcome.”
The legislation being introduced today would amend the Executive Law to create a new day of commemoration called Democracy Day. According to law, a day of commemoration “shall not constitute a holiday or half-holiday but shall be a day set aside in recognition and special honor of a person, persons, group, ideal, or goal.” Existing days of commemoration include Holocaust Remembrance Day, Vietnam Veterans’ Day, Women’s Equality Day, and September 11th Remembrance Day, as well as several others.