After a coup attempt in Washington, D.C. failed to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory, Triangle organizations swiftly and roundly condemned the far-right extremist insurrection.
The news is still unfolding, with Congress poised to vote on impeaching President Trump (a second time) for his role in fomenting and inciting the attack and Capitol Police announcing Thursday night that one of its officers died after being injured in the brazen assault. But several Triangle-area organizations responded quickly to the violence—here’s what some had to say.
The nonpartisan Democracy N.C. was among the first to react to the attack, issuing a statement on its website.
“What we are witnessing at the United States Capitol is a terrorist attempt to invalidate the outcome of a free and fair election, and subvert representative government through violence and intimidation,” the statement reads. “It is the result of years of attempts to undermine democracy itself by limiting its reach, questioning its value, and attacking the truth on which popular rule relies.”
On Facebook and Twitter, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina shared a statement from its national leadership, one of the strongest and most direct commentaries on what happened.
“Today’s activity on Capitol Hill should have been a procedural exercise to finalize the 2020 election,” the January 6 statement says. “Instead, our nation’s Capitol was attacked by domestic terrorists seeking to invalidate the will of the people.
“This violent mob was encouraged by an outgoing president who lost re-election in a free and fair election,” it continues. “Donald Trump has emboldened and empowered violent agitators, perpetuated dangerous conspiracy theories, and dishonored the office of the president. Furthermore, the members of Congress who continuously lie to the American people about the proven legitimacy of this election are also responsible for today’s horrific events. There is blood on their hands.”
Several of North Carolina’s Congressional representatives were part of the push to overturn the election in the U.S. House, including newly elected Madison Cawthorn, who spoke at the rally earlier Wednesday.
The ACLU of North Carolina also strongly condemned the insurrection, describing it as “a failed coup attempt” carried out by “a lawless mob.” But they also criticized the police response.
“Far too often we witnessed unarmed Black people being murdered or maimed by law enforcement,” it says. “Peaceful protests seeking justice and accountability are often also met with police violence. Today’s restrained response to undemocratic violence was a stark contrast and a clear demonstration of the normalization of white supremacy. “
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Raleigh and Cary sent the INDY a statement urging all Americans to “stand together against politically motivated violence” and calling for accountability.
“Our diverse Jewish community of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents urge in the strongest possible terms that President Trump and other elected officials immediately cease incendiary rhetoric,” they wrote in a January 7 email. “We urge members of Congress and other responsible elected officials to speak out against the violence.”
The statement didn’t make mention of the involvement of avowed white supremacists and antisemites in the mob, including a man wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt who assaulted the Capitol.
Down Home N.C., one of the groups actively organizing in Alamance County and across the state, warned of what could come next, and vowed to organize.
“We will not allow the actions of white supremacists and far-right extremists in Washington to dilute or distract us from what we have worked for, what we have accomplished, and what we have won,” they wrote. None of the chaos encouraged by the president today can change that, but it does warn us about what could be to come.
“An angry, armed white mob launched an assault inside of our Capitol, threatening our government, our democratic processes, and threatening human life,” the statement continues. “Law enforcement was unable or unwilling to stop this unprecedented attack in stark contrast to their reaction to communities of color seeking change. The events of today were encouraged by the president, but they will not end when he is out of office. This is why we organize in rural North Carolina.”
In a January 7 statement on Facebook, Emancipate N.C. said they are still digesting what happened, but offered some initial thoughts.
“We have seen many emails from organizations, elected officials, and community leaders that continue to beat the same drum: THIS IS NOT AMERICA. Emancipate N.C. will not join that chorus. We are standing in our truth, even when it is uncomfortable,” they wrote. “What we saw yesterday IS America. It is not the America we want to be. It is not the America we show the world. It is not the America we dramatize in movies. But, make no mistake…THIS IS AMERICA.”
The statement says the insurrectionists operated with “the complicity of many actors in the federal government” and were driven by “desperation” as they try to preserve racial dominance.
“American is trying to become who she SAYS she is,” they continued. “And those people who attempted to overthrow the government yesterday want to stop her…. Now, more than ever, we have to be laser focused and keep our eyes on the prize of full liberation and freedom for all. We are winning. We are chipping away at the white supremacist status quo. They want us to stop and be discouraged. Do not.”
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