The 2021 Storming of the Capital and What We Need to Do to Continue Moving Forward

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I actually was going to write about a totally different topic this week, but the storming of the United States Capital on January 6, 2021 completely changed my mind. As I continue to become more informed about the details that led up to the storming of the capital as well as the graphic details captured by the rioters, I feel compelled to speak about this event and add my thoughts and perspective.

Just to recap what happened, On January 6, 2021, during the counting of Electoral College votes for the 2020 United States presidential election, a pro-Trump mob violently stormed the capitol. This triggered a lockdown in the building. Vice-President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and other staff members were evacuated, while others were instructed to barricade themselves inside offices and closets. People stormed the floors of both the House and the Senate, as well as the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. One person was shot by law enforcement, and later succumbed to the injury. It was the first time the Capitol was violently seized since 1814, when it was taken by the British in the War of 1812.

The chaos did not disrupt our age-old process of democracy: Legislators, who’d been forced to barricade chamber doors and cower under their desks, reassembled and worked through the night to certify the election of Joseph Biden Jr. as our nation’s next president.

But what happened on January 6, 2021, a coup attempt by domestic terrorists, ignited by false claims of election fraud from a sitting president, can’t be downplayed or twisted over time into some kind of symbol of American resilience.

Viewing the footage of pro-Trump supporters  in MAGA gear and camo garb, scaling Capitol walls, shattering windows, urinating/defecating inside the building  and throwing punches at cops, was the reminder that even in our country’s most volatile moments, white skin provides a sense of invulnerability that Americans like me will never know.

During four days of protests in Los Angeles last spring, after the death of George Floyd, the LAPD made 2,700 arrests — the vast majority for violating curfew or refusing to disperse.

In Washington on Wednesday, only 83 people, in a crowd that numbered into the thousands, were arrested by district and Capitol police.  As more and more footage of the day is being released, it sure seems that the pro-Trump supporters were met with much less resistance from law enforcement than the multi-racial Black Lives Matters Protestors.

Before I go any further, I want to share the mission statement for Keeping it 100 LA:

“KeepingIt100LA is a 501(c)(3)  Organization with a Community Platform That Provides Insight and Honest Information Regarding Relationship Dynamics and Other Facets of Black Culture”

Our mission embodies the importance of building and sustaining a Black Community by means of creating couples and community. However, voting also contributes to the sustainability of the Black community and it’s an expression of Love and Our Civic Duty.

The Presidential election that took place on November 3, 2020 was indeed historical and an act of Black Love: Record numbers of Americans cast ballots —  nearly 160 million  — but African American voters were a critical demographic that helped determine the final outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Cities with large Black populations such as Philadelphia, Detroit and Atlanta bolstered Biden’s lead in key battleground states the Democratic Party lost four years ago. Witness the history-making election in reliably Republican Georgia last week; the red state elected its first Black and Jewish senators, both of them Democrats, this was due to the fact that 800,000 people registered to vote and helped to flip Georgia.

Let’s be honest: Black voters, Black people in general, don’t all think the same. There is no monolithic Black constituency; instead, there are vast distinctions in thought sometimes related to geography, culture, religion, age, gender and upbringing. But certain broad issues — racial injustice, economic inequality, voter suppression, law enforcement bias, educational access, health care — resonate with Black Americans.

Trump’s lack of leadership and incompetence allowed the deadly coronavirus to run rampant, disproportionately affecting Black people. Trump has attacked Black athletes, Black journalists and Black female members of Congress. He has called African countries “s—holes.” He has aligned himself with white nationalists, called Black Lives Matter a symbol of hate, and answered cries for freedom during racial justice protests this summer with a “law and order” rhetoric.

Malcolm X once said in 1964 that White voters, “are so evenly divided that every time they vote, the race is so close they have to go back and count the votes all over again. Which means that any minority that has a bloc that sticks together is in a strategic position to determine the winner of an election. Either way you go, that’s who gets it.”

Indeed on November 3, 2020, Biden won 90% of the Black vote, and his total votes among Blacks even exceeded that of Barack Obama in 2008. White voters were almost split in half with 41% voting for Biden and 58% for Trump.

So to just sum things up, the message here is that when our community comes together, we can make a difference for not only ourselves, but for everyone when we show up and vote.

As mentioned, the mission of Keeping it 100 LA embodies the importance of building and sustaining a Black Community by means of creating couples and community.

We need to vote in order for Black Communities to thrive and flourish: If you want to hold police officers accountable through the criminal justice system, then you need to vote and elect prosecutors who will do so. If you want to change training practices and use-of-force policies to prevent unjust outcomes, then you need to vote for local officials who will make these changes and negotiate contracts that bring about real accountability. And if you want national leaders with the moral courage to lead with compassion and love rather than with cowardly fear-mongering designed to fan the flames of hate and division, then you must vote for those leaders.

Voting is a right that our Black Ancestors fought for: Voting was central to securing true freedom and self-determination.

It’s a beautiful thing to see Black men and women showing up as individuals to vote, it’s even more beautiful when Black Couples, Black Families, and the Black Communities show up and vote.

Let’s keep showing up to vote and continue to make a difference and sustain our communities and democracy.

Just Keeping it 100,

Stephanie

Picture Courtesy of Shutterstock

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