By Jaime Ernesto Uzeta, CEO of Public Allies
This week’s assault on our democracy—and flagrant display of white supremacy—was tragic and dismaying, yet sadly unsurprising in a country founded on (and still unwilling to truly reckon with) the genocide of one people and the enslavement of another. The same could be said about the gaping disparity in how these domestic terrorists were treated, versus the violence inflicted upon those peacefully protesting for Black lives last summer.
As we know, these events are the product of a longstanding, pervasive pattern of hate and systemic oppression. They reflect growing toxicity in our civic culture borne of misinformation and zero-sum-game-thinking rather than a concern for the common good. At the same time, while painful, they are also powerful reminders of why our work is so vital.
Our resolve and commitment has only been strengthened to create a more just and equitable society—a more perfect union—where the diversity and assets of our communities are recognized and honored.
We believe that leadership is a practice and not a position. We believe in the broad exercise of power and civic responsibility. That includes powerful civic acts such as the exercise of the vote we witnessed Tuesday in Georgia and demanding accountability through protest and civil disobedience of #BlackLivesMatter. What we witnessed Wednesday was not such an act and we absolutely rebuke any equivalence between the protests demanding accountability for police abuse of power and the tyranny exercised at the Capitol.