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This is America: A SPARCC Response to the events of 1/6/2021

On January 6, 2021 we saw the culmination of years of work led by Black women in Georgia — Stacey Abrams, LaTosha Brown, Deborah Scott, Tamieka Atkins, Helen Butler, and Nsé Ufot among scores of others. They galvanized the election of Senator-Elect Reverend Raphael Warnock, the first Black senator from Georgia. Their work also elevated Jon Ossoff to become Georgia’s first Jewish senator. This election was a repudiation of Georgia’s racist runoff election— established to suppress Black votes— and was a moment of unadulterated celebration of Black excellence in organizing and coalition building.

This is America.

January 6, 2021 also became the day that white supremacy predictably raised its hand in disproportionate response to Black progress. In an act of domestic terrorism propelled and energized by Donald Trump’s repeated lies, American citizens stormed the Capitol. In doing so, they held the American government hostage in certifying the will of 80 million people. These mostly white rioters perpetrated acts of violence and sedition in the heart of our Democracy. 

This too is America.

Childish Gambino’s 2018 song “This Is America(warning: graphic video) remains a powerful artistic representation of the duality we struggle through every day. During the 2020 summer of racial reckoning, Black and allied protestors peacefully demanding racial justice were met with bullets, tear gas, and imprisonment by militarized police. In the same hallowed ground of the nation’s Capitol building— built by enslaved Black people— white rioters were met with little police resistance while violently threatening our democracy. Those upholding unfounded claims of election fraud and resulting violence are treated as patriots. Descendants of those that built our nation’s capital asserting that a Black life matters are met with disregard and brutality. 

This is also America.

In this moment, and in pursuit of a more equitable future, it is critical and necessary that we recognize these two Americas live side-by-side. Alongside Black excellence is the insidious hold of white supremacy. Our country is a country of contradictions. We should not feign surprise when white supremacy rears its ugly head in this nation. White supremacy remains the unacknowledged foundation of this country and we must address it without fear, timidness, or delay. 

This is still America.

SPARCC stands in solidarity with the multitude of voices who rise up against Trump’s hateful rhetoric of the last four years. SPARCC stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement; the rights of Indigenous peoples; and in solidarity with all movements led by people of color that seek justice, equity, and liberation. As an initiative, we will continue to use our power and privilege to dismantle white supremacy so that all people— especially Black, Indigenous, and people of color— experience liberation and joy.

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