Nearly 100 participants gathered on the steps of Pasadena City Hall on Thursday evening for a peaceful vigil marking the one-year anniversary of the assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, who stormed the building in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The event was one of 220 national vigils which took place Thursday, organized by local volunteers under the auspices of a national group calling itself January 6 Vigil For Democracy, according to local organizer Hoyt Hillsman.
The group sang “America the Beautiful,” and “We shall Overcome,” as participants continued to arrive.
Congressman Adam Schiff (D-28), who represents parts of Pasadena, addressed the group in a video broadcast. Schiff recounted the events of Jan. 6, 2021.
“One year ago a mob attempted to overturn the results of an American presidential election, stopping the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our history. They gouged police officers, assaulted them, and broke their limbs.”
“One police officer lost his life,” said Schiff, “and others later took their own lives. But the line held, thanks to the bravery and values of those officers.”
“We returned to the chamber to finish the work and certify the results and our democracy moved forward.”
Schiff then focused on the present.
“Since that day, however, the ‘Big Lie’ that sparked the violence and attempted insurrection, has persisted, with a new generation of ‘Jim Crow’ laws and attempts to undermine the offices charged with the administration of elections, and most ominously, attempting to legitimizing an idea that exists only in the darkest corners of our country.”
Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-27), also recalled the day, detailing the fears of herself and fellow members of Congress as the demonstrators stormed the Capital building.
“I will never forget January 6th. I was alone in my office. I was preparing to go down to the house floor to vote, to certify the state of Arizona’s result in the presidential election, when I got the shocking alert from the police at the Capitol had been breached by rfioters who were determined to stop the election.”
“I immediately locked my doors,” she continued, “ and for the next eight hours I stayed inside, knowing that there was danger outside. I watched television and saw the horrendous marching of these folks down Statuary Hall with their Confederate flags and Trump flags.”
“I did not dare answer anybody knocking on the door because I did not know if the person on the other side of that door would be there to kill me. But what was even more frightening was seeing on TV what was happening on the house floor.”
Chu said she saw the back door of the House floor barred by the Capitol police, with guns drawn and pointed toward the outside and rioters frantically banging on the door to get in.
“I know that had those rioters not been stopped, had they been able to get through either entry, that they would have been able to capture the members of Congress that were still there, and they would have maimed, kidnapped or killed them.”
Chu said she is reminded of the day each time she steps on the House floor.
And she wants answers to the events of that day.
“It’s so important,” she stressed, “that we get the results of the January 6th Select Committee, so that we know exactly what happened, who financed it, who planned it, and who was behind it. And it’s so important that we make sure that those who invaded the capital and committed all this violence, get the punishment that they deserve.”
Chu called for the strengthening of the security of the US Capitol and making sure that intelligence is shared between all enforcement agencies.
“But most importantly,” she said, “we must ensure that we restore transparency and accountability in our democracy. We need to ensure that the American people are able to exercise their voices and ensure that our America remains a democracy.”