Like many Americans I began Wednesday, January 6th in good spirits: Progressive Democrats won both special elections in Georgia due to the hard work of incredible Black women who organized and mobilized. In Washington, DC Mitch McConnell will lose his ability to block critical legislation — and stack our courts — and Congress was to formally ratify Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next administration. Here in Seattle, and with gratitude to the tremendous optimism of the moment, we launched our campaign for re-election for City Council riding on a rising progressive wave in this country.
Within hours, that optimism gave way to horror, as we watched an angry mob incited by a traitorous President and encouraged by Republican Senators intent on destroying democracy, invade our nation’s Capitol Building.
Taken as a moment in history, the images and actions of this seditious rebellion are shocking and unprecedented. Not since the War of 1812 has the capitol been breached– then by a foreign adversary, yesterday by domestic terror. Even during the civil war the temples of American democracy held firm. Yet yesterday this angry, organized, and presidentially- sanctioned mob proudly displayed the images of racism and hate in the hallways of Congress, while an array of known white supremacist leaders and organizations vandalized and occupied the halls of Congress. These are images and actions we cannot isolate or ignore.
For the millions of Black and brown Americans who marched this summer for racial justice, for the millions of women who march and fight for reproductive freedom and fair wages, for union members and the working poor who take collective action for fairness and opportunity, and for LGBTQ+ communities who struggle for basic rights and respect, the sight of these flags, these men, and this level of hatred is not only traumatic, it reminds us of the fragility of all we have fought to gain and how far we have yet to go. Almost equal to the appalling scenes in our nation’s capitol yesterday was the painfully obvious disproportionality in police response to this invasion. National television pundits, posts from leaders across this nation, and many of us watching all said the same thing: “If these individuals were Black, this would look– and would have ended– very differently.”
While thousands of peaceful protesters were arrested and gassed this summer at events triggered by racial bias and brutality, conversely these traitors to our nation– including known hate groups and agitators– were able to breach barricades and gain entry to the Senate floor, offices of the Speaker and other leaders, even take selfies with uniformed officers, vastly free of arrest and repercussion. While federal officers brutalized peaceful demonstrators in Lafayette Square this summer so Trump could have a photo op, hundreds of white supremacists invaded the Capitol, causing panic and loss of life. This was an attempt to tell our Country’s residents, and in particular our BIPOC and LGBTQIA communities and women and working families that they don’t matter, their votes don’t matter, and to incite violence and fear. But this act of terror will not work.
Our collective actions, and collective demands matter in this moment. We demand accountability for the blatant inconsistencies and unconscionable actions of those responsible and for those who enabled this attempted coup. I applaud our Congressional members who have called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked.
I am committed to this collective call for action, and will continue to be an unwavering ally to those who have suffered most at the hands of America’s legacy of bigotry and hate. Acting together, we must weed out the racist, misogynistic hate on display yesterday that has deep roots in this country to accomplish the profound changes needed.