Statement on the Siege of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021

The Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research condemns the violence of the insurrectionists who descended on the nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, bent on halting a legal Constitutional procedure and establishing their candidate by force. Led by white supremacists and mobilized in response to the President and others like him, the siege was propelled by disinformation and displaced outrage, and we join the many who demand accountability for these wrongs.

Working in Anne Braden’s anti-racist tradition, we strongly denounce the horrific racial disparities evident in the lenient police preparations for and response to the siege compared to the brutal repression rained on Black Lives Matter and collective demands for racial justice in 2020 and way before it. What happened was shocking but not surprising. We also mourn the deaths of those Capitol police officers who tried hard and with too little support to protect the Capitol. We raise our voices with many others to call for accountability for the insurrectionists and those leaders who incited them, and we hope that this blatant attempt to seize power from legitimately elected officials will prompt a national soul- searching that is long overdue.

It is incumbent on those of us in a university setting to seek and spread knowledge and understanding, to dispel the disinformation that surrounds us. The white supremacy that shaped our country has long animated attempts to undermine democracy, and the backlash of January 6 demonstrated how powerfully it continues to do so. Racism is not our nation’s only problem but others cannot be solved without confronting that one. Only then we can we tell a more honest national story and therefore form a basis for unity and prosperity in the years ahead. Through research, education, and action, we at the ABI commit to the collective hard work of social transformation that is essential for bringing an end to the unchecked systemic racism, raging economic inequalities, and poisonous disinformation so rampant in these United States.