The Fast and Vigil organizing team has been monitoring the news on the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the security situation around the Supreme Court and neighboring US Capitol. Unless there is an unforeseen issue arising with the pandemic or with security issues in DC, we have decided to move forward with a modified, smaller version of the annual Fast and Vigil in Washington, DC this coming June 29 to July 2.
Thus, registration is now open. Register on-line here. Please read the following before registering or making any plans to attend.
GENERAL COVID HEALTH SAFETY: With more and more people being vaccinated, and a decline in COVID infection rates in much of the country, we believe we can safely gather in small numbers outdoors in DC. As with last year, we are not encouraging people to travel to DC for the Fast and Vigil and hope that those who are local will help keep the tradition alive. But if people choose to travel from outside the area, we trust that they will take all necessary precautions to ensure their health safety and the safety of those they encounter. Regardless of where participants originate from, we will require that all gathering be done outside the Supreme Court, with masks worn when within six feet of others. We will maintain the greatest caution for the health of all involved – including vigilers and the general public alike - and we will follow any DC public health orders.
VIGILING: Proper social distancing should be easy to do since our banners and tables are 6 feet in length (so one person at each end). Whether we will have a table for people to approach to sign petitions will be decided closer to the event once we have more information about CDC and Washington, DC health recommendations. We recognize that mask wearing while in the heat of a DC summer could be uncomfortable and perhaps dangerous, so we understand that at times participants may want to unmask - but only when 6 or more feet from others.
INDOOR ACCESS DURING EVENTS: We have arranged for bathroom access in a nearby church (5-7 minute walk away from the Court). We will be allowed in small numbers to use the restroom facilities, and must remained masked at all times when in the building. We will not have the adjacent Methodist office building available to us for air-conditioned relief. Because of that, the vigil may be conducted in shifts or be scaled down to limited hours in order to avoid prolonged sun and heat exposure. The registration form allows you to offer your preference. Regardless of the schedule, we will have the usual beverage coolers with cold drinks for hydrating and cooling.
TEACH-INS: We will still hold our teach-ins each day, but will encourage people to listen and participate remotely. As with last year, all teach-ins will be broadcast online. For technical reasons, this may happen indoors, especially since many of our featured speakers will be calling in remotely. In that case, there will be no live audience in person, and everyone will view online. If any of the teach-ins end up being held outside the Court, masks will be required for everyone and proper spacing will be maintained.
HOUSING: Traditionally, housing has been provided at CCNV. We will not be arranging housing there this year, and instead ask that participants find their own, smaller-scale housing. The registration form has been updated to include a housing section so that we can help pair people together that are comfortable sharing housing with other participants who come from out of the area, and we will be fundraising to help off-set the costs associated with housing. We recommend that if you are coming from out of the area, you start looking now for affordable options through sites like Priceline, Expedia, and AirBnB. We cannot guarantee financial assistance at this time, but will do our best to fundraise to help those who need assistance.
Please note that the above protocols are all tentative. The F&V organizing team will continue to monitor what is being required of public events in the DC area, and adhere to those guidelines. It is possible that those will change between now and then, so we ask that all participants be flexible with changes as they are communicated.
And as always, those who are sick or have significant pre-existing health conditions are advised not to participate – especially since we will not have access to indoors spaces for heat relief.
Abolitionist Action Committee (AAC)
P.O. Box 89
Ghent, NY 12075