(This statement was originally posted on Jan. 8, 2021).
The seditious riot at the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021 was a direct attack on our democracy and the electoral process. It was sickening. Despite hundreds of years of oppression, suppression, marginalization, and being called the most dehumanizing of names, African Americans have embraced non-violent movements and remained vigilant, despite all odds, to advance the cause for civil rights. African Americans are committed to advancing the best of this nation despite a deeply flawed U.S. Constitution that initially did not recognize African Americans as full human beings.
The conduct of the rebellious mob is inexcusable. A police officer and four other people are dead because of their conduct. This mob must be held accountable.
Moreover, we cannot overlook the obvious. This mob was given more deference in their destructive, deadly conduct, than peaceful African Americans who protested both in the 1960s during the civil rights movement, and today when Black Lives Matter protestors, both black and white, are protesting police brutality.
In this moment, while hurt and anger might encourage us to do so, we cannot become disheartened, disillusioned, or depressed because of the mob’s actions. If we do so, the enemies of democracy, freedom, and equality have won.
All who believe in the dignity of human life and the right of all people to civil and human rights, must continue to advocate for equality and justice. Let the outrageous conduct of the mob at the Capitol reaffirm the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, the Honorable John Lewis and many others that moral persuasion, non-violent movements, fair and free elections, among other civic acts, places the nation on a brighter future for all people.
Daphene R. McFerren,
Executive Director, Hooks Institute.