Our Democracy’s Ideals Depend on Our Actions Today

CONTACT: Christiaan Perez, press@opportuni​tyagenda.org, 212-334-4275

New York, NY – On January 6, in the aftermath of what was another historic federal election in Georgia, white mobs erupted in violence and overtook the U.S. Capitol during what was to be a day of pro-forma ceremony certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. It is now becoming clear that President Trump’s words, along with a group of enabling lawmakers and a seemingly complicit security force at the Capitol, inspired an attack on our democracy. Ellen Buchman, President of The Opportunity Agenda issued the following statement:

The history made in Georgia in the runoff election on Jan. 5, with BIPOC organizers and voters leading the way with their organizing prowess, voices, and votes, cannot be overstated. It resulted in a defining moment for the democracy that our country aspires to be. The values of voice, community, and inclusion ruled the day in Georgia and in the nation, as the record number of people – many of whom were Black and Latinx – executed their right to vote in the middle of a global health crisis and after decades of voter suppression. It is progress that should be celebrated.

Tragically, it is not a coincidence that this progress was marred when white mobs – at the president’s behest – made another deep and painful mark on our country’s history of a fragile democracy. The men and women that overtook the U.S. Capitol in response to a president who refuses to admit defeat, coupled with what seemed to be a police force that largely stood by and watched without taking immediate action, is revealing of the DNA of our country’s white supremacist history. The racist violence that so many have experienced around the country in state houses and on sovereign lands, which manifested at the Capitol yesterday, runs counter to and is profoundly disrespectful of the ideals of our country’s greatest asset: its diverse and peaceful people who are at the forefront of the fight for a more perfect union. One cannot help but notice how the police violently turned on peaceful and diverse people over the summer when they stood together in support of Black lives, yet these same forces seemed to accept the violent attacks by white mobs yesterday at the U.S. Capitol.

We must use the jarring memory of yesterday’s actions to commit to doing all that is in our power to promote true safety for everyone. This means providing all people – the workers, the health care providers, the care givers, the food and service industry workers, the deliverers of our meals – all people with what they need to be safe, to be healthy, and to be prosperous in their communities. This means that we must be vigilantly doing all that we can to turn the tide of COVID-19’s killing machine, and while doing that we must support those families who are grieving the loss of their people.

And this especially means that we must resoundingly reject white supremacy’s grasp on our society, our police departments, the White House, and all who enable it. We will not stand for a system that is complicit with the violence promulgated against Black protesters, yet is easy going on white vigilantes who run roughshod on federal spaces. The Opportunity Agenda joins social and racial justice leaders, organizations, lawmakers and business entities in calling out the hypocrisy and the violence that was perpetuated on Jan. 6. We must do what it takes to promote a safe and prosperous environment for all people, and we call for those who inspired and caused this attack on our country to be held to account. Our communities and our country’s ideals are depending on it.

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