At least 100 people participated in a Sacramento demonstration Wednesday evening for the clemency of Current TV journalist, Euna Lee, and producer Laura Ling, detained in North Korea. The two women, originally from Sacramento and graduates of Del Campo high school, were scheduled to stand trial Wednesday (Thursday, June 4 in North Korea) for illegally crossing the DPRK border and other "hostile acts."
The participants — family members, friends and supporters of the women, some bearing signs demanding their release — gathered at the L Wine Lounge and Urban Restaurant in Midtown Sacramento, and proceeded with a walk to the Capitol west steps.
Upon arrival at the Capitol, participants were asked to engage in a moment of silence. Statements were made in support of Lee and Ling by Mayor Kevin Johnson, Jerry Wang, a family member of Laura Ling, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco), Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), Senator Robert "Bob" Huff (R-Diamond Bar) and former Del Campo students Beth Deibels and Marcus Marquez.
Among those in the crowd was teacher Jim Jordan, who taught Ling at Del Campo in his honors junior English class in 1992-93.
"She’s one of my [former] students, a fellow journalist, a member of our community [and] a member of my school community, and we just want to support her and Euna and their families in any way that we can," Jordan said.
Wang made a statement of behalf of the Ling and Lee families expressing gratitude for the public support of the two women.
"Our families have been comforted by the unexpected and overwhelming support for Laura and Euna," Wang said. "We would like to thank all of those individuals who are organizing to secure the release of the girls."
Although she does not know Ling or Lee personally, Deibels explained that having attended the same school as the women, "We can’t help but feel connected to them."
The vigil was arranged Monday morning by Deibels and Marquez when they realized a vigil in Sacramento had not yet been arranged in recognition of the womens’ trial.
"There were other vigils [scheduled] across the country … and we wanted to make sure Laura’s hometown didn’t fall off of the map," Diebels said. "Facebook is how it started, believe it or not."
Diebels and Marquez posted the event and sent initial invitations through the online social network.
Other vigils were listed to simultaneously take place in Birmingham, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
To read more about the first Sacramento vigil for the two women, see Lee & Ling vigil.