Our Statement on the January 6th Attack on Democracy
As we watch the lingering impact of the attacks at our nation’s Capitol and those closer to home at the Kansas Capitol, we are mortified but not surprised. The world witnessed domestic terrorism that has plagued Black people for centuries. Vitriolic rhetoric and violence in response to democracy running its course is a glimpse into the America too many Black women and families have come to know.
These egregious acts encouraged and condoned by the complicity of the nation’s top leader and Missouri’s highest-ranking elected official, were the culmination of years of unchecked violence at the hands of domestic terrorists, rampant violence at the hands of police, dangerous rhetoric by elected officials and media institutions whose coverage continually plays down the seriousness of these violent acts through milquetoast narratives framing these terrorists as protestors and their lawlessness as freedom of speech.
The certification of the election results should have been a simple upholding of our democratic traditions and a time to recognize the significance of the electoral wins in Georgia. Instead, we were bombarded with reports of insurgency across the nation that almost overshadowed the most notable outcome of the 2020 presidential and Senate races — the election of our nation’s first Black woman Vice President. This historic moment is more than a symbol of progress. The history-making win for Georgia’s newly elected senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, means Vice President-elect Kamala Harris holds monumental legislative power.
As the President of the Senate she is granted the tie-breaking vote, an occurrence that has only happened three times in the history of the Senate. She is positioned to decide what legislation is prioritized, what nominees for our courts and other positions of leadership are confirmed and what legislation gets blocked. It is power that can be wielded to help many Black women and Americans who are in need of transformative leadership, now more than ever.
Shirley Chisholm brought her folding chair to the decision-making table and now, Kamala Harris sits at the head of that table.
Like other major victories for our nation’s democracy, this moment was made possible by Black women leaders, organizers, operatives and strategists. Working night and day in battleground, red and blue states, they mobilized their communities to get out the vote on November 3, 2020. It was specifically the work of Black women trailblazers in Georgia who paved the path to victory for candidates facing intense battles for their seats.
Even during our nation’s unrest, there is still reason to rejoice in the contributions and accomplishments of so many Black women.
The power bestowed on Vice President-elect Kamala Harris by Black women and the American people is without a doubt one of the reasons we witnessed such great backlash. What the world witnessed Wednesday is the America that Black women know all too well as we fight against systemic barriers for a democracy we’ve shaped but have yet to enjoy.
We will take this fight to the ballot box in local races, school board elections and the midterms in 2022. We will support the work of Black women elected to public service at every level of government. We will step in and hold leaders in office, leaders in business, leaders in education, leaders in healthcare and leaders in law enforcement accountable for their words, their actions and their decisions. We are ready to fully step into advocacy so we can wield our collective power to create, influence and challenge the trajectory of public policy to benefit Black women, the communities they serve and the world.