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Protest Threat Turns California Tree Lighting Ceremony Into Virtual Event

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Sacramento, CA — This year the holiday tree lighting ceremony at the California Capitol was held virtually, rather than in person.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s office confirms that the change was due to concerns about it being disrupted by protests. The Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights had scheduled a protest at the same time as the planned tree lighting.

So, the Governor’s Office released a pre-recorded ceremony last night. The change was made for the “safety” of both the participants and guests, according to officials. Last month the California Democratic party also cancelled some events at its endorsement convention in Sacramento after protestors entered a convention hall.

It is a 40-year tradition that a child from a Department Developmental Services regional center helps to light the tree. This year it was five-year-old Harley Goodpasture, who the Governor says was the first California Native American child to assist with the ceremony. Harley receives services from the Inland Regional Center which represents over 400,000 Californians with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The celebration also included a blessing from the Chairman of the Wilton Rancheria and a performance from the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. Members of Governor Newsom’s family were also on hand. The 60-foot red fir was installed last month at the state capitol after being cut down from the LaTour Demonstration Forest in Shasta County.