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January 21 Rally for Democracy Offers Hope and a Way Forward

On Jan. 20, our nation gets a new president with an agenda that has many people concerned about the future.

On Jan. 21, over 40 nonpartisan organizations will gather at the SC State House for a Democracy Fair and Rally from 10am-noon, followed by a Strategy Summit from 1-3pm at the Music Farm a half-block away on Senate Street.

The day’s events will give the state’s leading activists a platform to talk about their work, share information about their organizations, and invite people to get involved. It will also offer progressives a chance to talk about what the new political reality means for South Carolina. The day’s events will be peaceful, nonpartisan, child-friendly, and fully accessible.

“We are rallying to defend the rights that so many people have fought for over the past 250 years,” said SC Progressive Network director Brett Bursey. “Democracy is still a work in progress, and we’re not retreating.” The Network is a 20-year-old coalition of organizations and individual activists from across the state working together to promote good government, an educated citizenry, and healthy communities.

“The Democracy Fair is like a job fair, only for nonprofits and advocacy organizations,” Bursey said. Groups will have tables and literature to share, and volunteers to answer questions. The rally program starts with music, followed by brief introductions of the activists doing the work for the participating organizations, interspersed with spoken word, songs and commentary.

After the rally, those ready to get active will regroup at the Music Farm for lunch ($10, noon-1pm) and a round-table strategy session (1-3pm). members of the SC Progressive Legislative Caucus and Bursey will share long-established plans for the coming years.

The Network was founded 20 years ago with the understanding that we can’t change DC until we change SC. Our primary mission has been to build and sustain a grassroots movement for social values that works for all of us, not just the well-connected, and fix a democratic system that has been crippled by gerrymandering and partisanship, and corrupted by money. We have the mechanism for systemic change; but it’s going to take all of us — committed for the long haul — to make it happen. We can do it.

USC historian Dr. Bobby Donaldson will talk about South Carolina’s past, and how that history must inform today’s strategies and tactics. Donaldson is advisor to the Modjeska Simkins School, a Network project launched in 2015 to teach a people’s history of SC and organizing skills to emerging activists.

The day will conclude with issue caucuses, where people can network and plan next steps. Groups include: 
Women, LGBT, Youth, Racial Justice, Voting/Govt. Reform, Environment, Immigration, Workers’ Rights and Faith. Each issue caucus will be facilitated by representatives from organizations working that issue. Check our web page for updates at www.scpronet.com/jan-21-rally, or call 803-808-3384.

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