In actions reminiscent of the civil rights and women’s suffrage movements, Shepherdstown area residents were among the more than 1,200 arrested during a weeklong series of protest.
Lynn Yellott explained, “Chess, Gayle Becker (co-host on Shepherd University Radio) and I joined others risking arrest to amplify voices throughout our country that are demanding more democracy. The corruption of so many elected officials by big money is drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens. We wanted to send a message: get big money out of politics and protect voting rights. Until that happens, ordinary people will not have the power to safeguard the environment and achieve other goals that serve the common good.”
Family doctor Chess Yellott added, “All Americans deserve medical care, a living wage and a voice. Gerrymandering and removing polling places from poor neighborhoods is pushing ‘One person one vote’ out of reach for many Americans.”
The NAACP was front and center of the April 18 demonstrations, with president Cornell William Brooks and Moral Monday’s Rev. William Barber, among the first arrested. Others detained by the Capitol Police included the founders of Ben & Jerry’s, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig and ecologist and author Sandra Steingraber who headed the movement that led to the ban on fracking in New York.
All those who sat in took a pledge of non violence, and the arrests were civil and peaceful.