Rev. Carlton Elliott Smith at Citizens Intervention open mic
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Uploaded on Nov 11, 2011
Washington, DC Oct. 31, 2011 -- Coffee Party USA launched the lobbying phase of its Citizens Intervention campaign today after battling the elements in a memorable open mic rally in front of the U.S. Capitol on Saturday. Coffee Party members from throughout the country met with their Representatives and Senators on Capital Hill to begin a partnership to advance campaign finance reform, Wall Street reform, and tax code reform. In the months and years to come, a growing network called the Citizens Lobby will bring open mic rallies to Members' districts, visit district offices, and continue building relationships on Capitol Hill.
Citizen Lobbyists had 32 meetings today at U.S. Representative and Senate offices
Citizen Lobbyists delivered hand-written letters to on behalf of concerned citizens who had sent them from around the country
A team of volunteers who live in the DC Metro area will continue to make regular visits to Capitol Hill, building relationships, and connecting elected officials to a national network of increasingly empowered citizens.
Ice storm creates challenges, lasting bonds
Despite freezing cold temperatures, high winds, hail, and snow flurries, the Citizens Intervention rally was an uplifting and empowering experience for more than 500 attendees including more than 150 speakers.
"We bonded through the adversity and learned that we can really count on each other even in the hardest circumstances. I would do it again with twice as much snow!" said Jose Gutierrez, a recent graduate from Purdue University Camulet in Indiana.
"Success is measured by how one adjusts to adversity and I could not be more proud of the Coffee Party members and visitors for what they endured in order to make their voices heard," said Egberto Willies of Houston, TX who served two shifts as emcee and is the host of the Coffee Party's Saturday radio show. "We identified the heroes and leaders who will help us reach our goal of achieving self-governance for the People."
Theresa Browngold of Doylestown, PA brought her family on stage with her to display nine of her paintings portraying people who have struggled with health care issues. During her remarks, she explained that the more haunting portraits used darker colors because they were of people who had died. "The paintings represent the uninsured, under-insured and dying. I wanted the country to see who cannot access healthcare," she said.
As the ice storm intensified and temperatures dropped, organizers decided to move the event inside before darkness fell. But soon after the event had moved indoors, some of the citizen speakers expressed a desire to return to the Capitol. Coffee Party co-founder Eric Byler grabbed a video camera, and together with Patrick Robinson and other members who had driven with him from Occupy Chicago, led about a dozen people back out into the cold. Byler said, "I actually wanted to stay out there. The show must go on, and it did, beautifully in our makeshift in-door stage. But for those of us who returned to the Capitol as the sun was going down, those last 10 or 12 speeches were deeply meaningful. We weren't going to let the storm beat us. We ended with the Pledge of Allegiance, spoken in the tradition of 'the people's mic."
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