On Wednesday, January 6th, a terrible atrocity occurred in our Nation’s capital. The Capitol building was breached and an insurrection occurred against the democracy of the United States. As a black man, I had mixed feelings about the events that took place, and how the response seemed vastly different than the response to Black Lives Matter protests that were held over the summer. While I felt deep sadness that the Capitol “building” was breached, it also brought back horrific memories for me personally. The Capitol building was breached on January 6th, 2021; but, the bodies, minds and souls of black and brown people have been breached for over 400 years. As terrible as it was, it felt like the “building” was more important than me as a person–a black man. Those who breached the Capitol should be held to the highest extent of the law, just as those who have committed crimes against and violated black and brown people should. Even with that, there was a ray of hope. What has given me hope through all of this? It was the Senate victory in Georgia. A Black Baptist preacher, and a young Jewish man were victorious in their quest for senate seats. While it may have looked as though there has been no progress, there is progress! It was just like during the Dr. King lead marches; people of different faiths walked hand in hand. I realize that together we can still make a difference despite the evil that surrounds us.
–Elder Doug King, ISAAC President
As a member of this community and a person that believes in progressive and human values, the attacks on the Capitol only encourage me not to stop working in unity with allies and friends. Evil is feeling little, lost and with no power over the majority of people that want a real change for this country. Evil is always present in acts of violence, and violence acts are not justified. Let’s work in unity to better all of our communities that continue to struggle and suffer unjust acts.
–Mr. Adrian Vazquez, El Concilio, Executive Director
January 6, 2021 – I unfortunately knew there would be violence. Yet, I did not think insurrectionists would actually storm the Capitol with plans of mob terror, abductions, assaults, and a lynching! January 6th was a painful reminder of how deeply rooted, these ungodly lies/false narratives of white supremacy are embedded within our Nation and within our policies and practices. White supremacy is not only a part of our American history, but also remains the foundation of our present reality.
This may not be who we want to be as a Nation, yet the atrocities of history (genocide, colonization, stolen land, camps, enslavement, and the list goes on…), and current disparities, inequities, hate crimes and what we witnessed on January 6th confirms, white supremacy is at the core of our Country.
There is so much to unpack from January 6th that serves as connections to our history. Some occurrences that resonated with me included:
- The silence and those willingly supporting this revolt.
- The talk of civil war, mob mentality and terror.
- Insurrectionists brought nooses, guns, and zip ties for those who would not bend to their will.
- The degrading t-shirt messages about our Jewish Family Members whose lives were taken during the Holocaust.
- The lack of this white supremacy being taken seriously as a domestic threat even when warned beforehand.
- Some Law Enforcement posing in photos with and ushering rioters around the building.
- The stark difference in response toward the Black Lives Matter protest (Summer 2020) and the response toward the white supremacists and neo-nazis’ riot (January 2021).
- The lack of coverage of the 130 plus Public Safety Officers, who, while protecting Legislators and trying to stop attackers, became victims of brutal violence resulting in, brain injuries, cracked ribs, smashed spinal cords and loss of an eye. Three Officers have died. Leading me to believe that this lack of coverage is due to the minimization and justification of terror by white supremacists in our nation.
- Democracy not being honored after Black and Brown voters turned out in record numbers to elect a new President.
The painful truth is this domestic terror is not going away after the inauguration! We have work to do!
So, the question is, how do we more deeply connect this reality to our work at ISAAC? While understanding that white supremacy is at the root of so many of our systems.
Will this be easy? Not always…
Can we impact change together? Yes, most definitely.
ISAAC Family, please remember, we need not only seek healing and unity moving forward; but we also need accountability for injustices.
This is Beloved Community work! Dismantling the remnants and ideals of white supremacy, islamophobia, neo-nazism, and more, while addressing these same policies and practices rooted in our systems.
We must tell the truth about white supremacy!
There is hope. We can do this.
Our Intentional Beloved Community Work Continues…
-Dr. Charlae M. Davis, ISAAC Executive Director