Young progressives demand Chuck Schumer step aside for new Democratic leadership

Millennials were arrested protesting the senate minority leader’s Wall Street ties.

SOURCEThink Progress
Photo Credit: Kira Lerner

WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than a dozen young people were arrested on Monday for protesting at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office. They demanded “Wall Street Democrats” step aside and allow for new, progressive leadership.

The millennials, affiliated with the group AllofUs2016, occupied his office for more than an hour. The group of almost 40 people sang, chanted, and claimed that Democrats will continue to lose elections as long as politicians maintain ties to Wall Street.

Specifically, they called for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to take over the reins as Senate Minority Leader.

Protesters inside Schumer’s office. CREDIT: Kira Lerner

“The Democratic Party establishment has failed this country. It’s failed its voters. It’s failed our generation,” Waleed Shahid, the group’s co-founder, told ThinkProgress. “The reason this country is so divided, so unequal, and so unfair is because of Wall Street billionaires who have destroyed our economy and taken over our government.”

Until Schumer withdraws his name from the running to lead the Senate opposition, the Democratic party will continue to fail its voters.

“We need new leaders who will actually speak the truth to the American people, and Chuck Schumer failed us,” he said.

Watch video of the protest here.

With the election wounds still raw for most progressives, members of AllofUs2016 expressed concerns that Democrats like Schumer are too willing to compromise and negotiate with Donald Trump. Shahid said he fears that Democrats won’t filibuster Trump’s legislation.

Sitting first inside Schumer’s office and then outside his doors where they were eventually arrested, the group chanted: “Chuck Schumer has no spine. Our democracy is on the line.”

Two of the seventeen people arrested are loaded into a police van outside the Senate offices. CREDIT: Kira Lerner

According to U.S. Capitol police, 17 people were handcuffed and taken away in a police van.

Yong Jung Cho, another co-founder, said she was willing to be arrested in order to send the message that Democrats “cannot negotiate” with someone who has promised to deport millions of people, ban Muslims from the country, and appointed a white nationalist to be his chief strategist.

“If young people today are willing to get arrested and to fight for the America that we believe in, then Democrats can filibuster all day and night and oppose Donald Trump’s racist and fascist agenda.”

Schumer has said he will support Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), a progressive who endorsed Sanders in the Democratic primary, to take over as chair of the Democratic National Committee. But he has also indicated a willingness to work with Trump, saying last week that he thinks “the party that’s seen as obstructionist is going to pay a price in 2018.”


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Kira Lerner is a Political Reporter for ThinkProgress. She previously worked as a reporter covering litigation and policy for the legal newswire Law360. She has also worked as an investigative journalist with the Chicago Innocence Project where she helped develop evidence that led to the exoneration of a wrongfully convicted man from Illinois prison. A native of the Washington, D.C. area, Kira earned her bachelor's degree at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.