Local rallies mark 1 year since January 6 Capitol siege

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Thursday marks one year since one of the darkest days for democracy in the U.S., when an armed crowd stormed the Capitol building in protest of the 2020 election results.

Security is on high alert in Washington, and in our area, several events were held featuring local Democrats.

In New Jersey, the South River community is honoring the memory of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who passed away a few days after the insurrection.

Sicknick, injured while confronting the rioters, suffered a stroke the next day and died from natural causes. His body lay in state at the Capitol Rotunda before he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

He was the youngest of three boys growing up in South River, and he graduated from the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School in East Brunswick before joining the Air National Guard.

Students as South River High School are honoring Sicknick with three projects, including the Brian Sicknick Memorial Garden, Brian Sicknick Community Clean Up days, and fundraisers donated in Sicknick's name to animal shelters.

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"He gave a lot for our country, and I just thought we should give back to him if he's from our community," junior Diana Eleto said.

Sicknick's mother told volunteers her son liked to play in Volunteer's Park when he was a child, so this place has special meaning to the family and the community.

"I like the idea of how all these projects are aligned to things that he really liked," junior Connor Kosa said.

Separately, songs, prayers, and speeches took center stage at the "We are One America Vigil for Democracy" rally at Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side. New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin were among the speakers.

In Brooklyn, former Staten Island Congressman Max Rose marked the anniversary at an event in Fort Hamilton, while New York Attorney General Letitia James and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams led a a "Defend Democracy" rally at Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Heights.

The large group of leaders called for state and city action to protect democracy and voting rights.

Democrats have sought to turn this anniversary into a rallying cry to pass federal voting rights legislation.

They want to stop some of the restrictions Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed in the wake of former President Donald Trump's defeat in the 2020 election.

At this point, there are no local Republicans holding press conferences or attending rallies.

The January 6, 2021, attack on our democracy exposed a huge political divide in this country, and one year later, there are no signs of it closing.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer says he is committed to bringing a bill up for a vote, but he may have to first convince Democrats to change the Senate filibuster rule.

That would allow the bill to overcome Republican opposition by passing with a simple majority.

"Let's be very clear," Schumer said. "January 6 was not merely a senseless act of a mob violence that sprung up spontaneously. It was an attempt to reverse through violent means the outcome of a free and fair election. And make no mistake, the root cause of January 6 is still with us today."

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