On Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, we saw a tragedy unfold in the U.S. Capitol. During the official electoral count, Pro-Trump demonstrators stormed into the building, causing violence and mayhem. The Senate, the House, and Vice President Mike Pence were all forced to evacuate.
When President-elect Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 election, President Trump made it clear that he would never accept the results. Since the election, he and other sitting representatives have flagrantly attacked our democratic processes. They have encouraged hatred and hostility toward those who disagree. There have been both veiled and flagrant threats as well as repeated attempts to incite violence. This dangerous rhetoric, fueled by increasing partisanship and polarization, has now led to outright terrorism.
Confederate flags flew in our nation’s Capitol building. Flags carrying slogans from QAnon and other dangerous conspiracy theories were also proudly on display. There were even nooses set up by the west side of the Capitol -- a clear symbolism of lynching -- and yet the President has not directly condemned the march. On Twitter, Donald Trump said to “Remember this day forever,” and that “these [...] events [...] happen when [...] an election victory is [...] stripped away from great patriots.”
These events are a manifestation of white privilege, white power, and white supremacy. This direct attack on our democracy also provided a glaring example of the double standard for protesters. The militarized police response to Black Lives Matter protests stands in stark contrast with the lackluster police response to armed rioters forcing their way into the Capitol building. Even as the safety of representatives was in danger, the response to mostly white, pro-Trump rioters storming the halls of Congress pales in comparison to the violence and force used on BLM protesters who march in the streets. White supremacists and people with other extremist ideologies stormed the U.S. Capitol, unchallenged by the same law enforcement that brutalized BIPOC for fighting for their right to survive all summer long.
We, the Racial Justice Task Force, representing the Junior State of America, publicly condemn what occurred yesterday. The events that transpired directly oppose this organization’s values. Our responsibility is to strengthen American democracy through the education and preparation of high school students. We wish to encourage an open re-evaluation of the role of government concerning racial justice, and we wish to spark a discussion on using activism to preserve American values.
The Members of the JSA Student Racial Justice Task Force