January 17, 2019

DEMOCRACY DAY – WOW! Democracy was center stage in Cleveland Heights City Hall on January 17th, 2019. And the stage ROCKED! Democracy Day is one day a year set aside by a local government to allow local residents to present testimony about corporate influence on local issues. Allowed 5 minutes each, person after person spoke about topics dear to them: access to health care, education funding, Lake Erie water quality, public transportation, climate change, gun violence, citizens initiatives legislation, private prisons, the struggles of local retail and small businesses, the rights of the natural world. Even a few street theater presentations were there to lighten the seriousness of concerns shared in the packed-to-overflowing room. The common theme of the night, and every Democracy Day across the country, is corporate influence in local community life. Move to Amend supports and encourages Democracy Days because it is our protected opportunity to speak, and because testimony is recorded in the public record for all to see. (Testimony from this hearing will be posted on the City’s site in a few months.) With democracy at risk around our country, it is urgent that we work together and share our concerns. Nationally, Move to Amend has 47 all-volunteer affiliates in 19 states, 8 in Ohio alone. We work to educate ourselves and others and encourage support for the We the People Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Amendment states that 1) corporations do not have first amendment rights granted to people and 2) money is not free speech to be used to influence government policy. There are abundant documentaries and books addressing this issue. If you are interested in establishing a local Democracy Day in your community, contact the Greater Akron affiliate of Move to Amend. Our local Akron group attended the Cleveland Heights event to offer support, learn about the process and build a strong northern Ohio partnership with other affiliate groups. Stay tuned. You will hear more from us!