Community leaders of European settler descent (also called white) from Action Annapolis, AACo Indivisible, Annapolis Pride, Connecting the Dots, Good Trouble in AACo, March On Maryland, One Pasadena, Our Revolution AACo, PFLAG Annapolis/Anne Arundel County, Showing Up for Racial Justice of Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (SURJ3A), South County is Kind, and WISE denounce the white supremacist terrorists who stormed the Capitol building on January 6, 2021 and condemn the blatantly favored treatment of them by law enforcement and our government. We call on the white leaders in our community to step up and speak out against this threat to our democracy.
Yesterday, we all watched as violent white supremacists stormed the Capitol, desecrated this symbol of our republic, and attempted to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power. There are many things that we are all thinking and feeling about this attack, but what is abundantly clear is that systemic racism and white privilege were on full display.
The disparity between how law enforcement interacted with these rioters and how law enforcement treated peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters over the summer is obvious. Law enforcement permitted these rioters to stroll into the Capitol with weapons and symbols of hate, and face almost no consequences (only 79 arrests out of thousands) because they were a group of white people.
Past episodes suggest that the response against those who stormed the Capitol might have been considerably stronger and more violent had the groups been predominantly people of color.
White community leaders, elected officials, and citizens: we are calling on you to condemn this violence and take steps to ensure it does not happen again. We need to address the centuries of cruelty, discrimination, genocide, and erasure towards people of color and indigenous people. The burden of the fight for racial justice has been placed on Black, Brown, and Indigenouspeople for long enough. Just this week, thanks to the tireless efforts of Black and Brown organizers in Georgia, the voices and votes of thousands of previously disenfranchised Georgians of color were heard and a new era of progress is on the horizon.
One action you as citizens can take right now as recommended by the Movement For Black Lives (M4BL) is to call your senators and representative (202-224-3121) and demand the items listed on the M4BL website (https://m4bl.org/statements/When-We-Build-Power/).
In addition, call on the Biden administration to work with Congress to push for meaningful reforms, including passing legislation that protects marginalized communities from further disenfranchisement and increasing protections against future presidents who place themselves above the law.
You can also call or email your state senator and delegates (mdelect.net) demanding they support upcoming Maryland Legislation that furthers racial justice, including but not limited to: police reform, educational equity, eviction prevention and safe housing, essential workers’ rights, equality in healthcare, and protections for immigrants.
If there was ever a time for us to step up, examine and face our privilege, and take the first steps towards a truly equal and just society, THIS is it. Our politics are not as important as our democracy. Our privilege is not as important as their lives. We must step forward into the light of progress, or be left behind in the darkness of privilege.