“The people who stormed the Capitol on January 6th were not protesting but attempting to overthrow democratic government by mob rule. The fact that these violent rioters were able to break into the Capitol should alarm us all and cause us to question the deference they were given by law enforcement and security forces. This is eerily reminiscent of how law enforcement has often been used to protect violent and racist actors defending the status quo while suppressing non-violent social justice movements.” - Dr. William Barber, II
My heart was heavy after spending hours watching the news and witnessing our democracy under attack on the evening of January 6. What was even more upsetting was to be reminded of the hypocrisy and obvious double standard in treatment. Those who participated last summer in peaceful protests against racism quickly fell victim to the hands of police brutality. Yet, the pro-Trump domestic terrorists who committed an armed insurrection of the U.S. Capitol seemed to be handled gingerly with kid gloves.
Racism is a very real and present danger. It is alive, well and deeply rooted in every aspect of how America operates. And what I find inconceivable is how some people still don’t believe this, despite what the world watched on January 6.
There is indeed a difference in how law and order is administered to Black lives, as compared to White ones. As Americans, we will never be able to fix what we’re not willing to face! It is imperative that we face the damage and harm that racism brings to every facet of our daily lives.
The horrific events we all witnessed in real time were a textbook example of the disparity between the treatment of those supporting the Black Lives Matter movement vs. the pro-Trump rioters. The question of “Why” such hypocrisy is allowed, continually loops through my mind.
Why were requests for support from the National Guard to be at the Capitol ahead of the predicted riots denied? Yet, last June armed members of the D.C. National Guard were dispatched to the Lincoln Memorial in response to crowds of peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstrators!
Why is it that we have countless examples of Black Lives Matter peaceful protests being met with brute force from law enforcement this summer? Yet, on that fateful day in January, there was actual footage showing how the domestic terrorists entered the Capitol building with little to no resistance!
Why did the rioters in early January lack any sense of urgency in responding to the mandatory curfew imposed by the mayor of Washington, D.C.? Yet, those who gathered this summer in D.C.’s Lafayette Square to peacefully protest the murder of George Floyd, prior to the curfew, were met with tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets. This, simply to allow the former president to casually walk from the White House to a nearby church for a photo opportunity.
As stated earlier, my heart became heavy as I witnessed an insurrection of our democracy. On the same evening, I received a text from a dear friend and colleague who I’ve known for more than 20 years. Her encouraging text read: "The events of today scream #RootCauseRacism!"
I agree with my friend 100%. Hate, ignorance, terrorism and lies WILL NOT win!
Next Steps in the #RootCauseRacism Movement
The #RootCauseRacism movement is a global initiative partnering with people from around the world. Our goal is to learn and share actionable ways to dismantle structural racism. The next phase of the movement builds on the calls to action from the first two blog series. We’ll pair that with community involvement, further motivating individuals to work toward achieving racial equity and justice for all Black people.
The #RootCauseRacism team is currently working to launch our third blog series, “The Colors of Love.” It will run February 19 through 25. Our contributors’ written work will heighten awareness about the intersectionality between racial discrimination, sexual orientation and gender identity.
We are also improving the website to identify additional ways to engage the community and share resources and guidance. We want to hear about the great work you’re doing in your community as a result of the #RootCauseRacism content that we have shared to date.
If you have ideas on how to enhance engagement, foster community and/or craft measures that address the root causes of institutional racism, please leave a comment on this blog or complete the stay informed section on the homepage of our website. We typically spotlight racial challenges and solutions in the areas of community involvement, business, education, health care, government and the arts.
Collectively, we have the power to create the world we desire to see. Individually, we can each do something to make improvements within our circles of influence…one small thing at a time.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” - Edmund Burke
In order for good to triumph over evil...we must: See something. Say something. Do something. And fight today for a better tomorrow!
Connect with Deondra on:
Deondra Wardelle is a Senior-level Training and Development Executive. She has proven expertise in Strategic Growth Initiatives, Organizational and Leadership Development, and Lean Six Sigma Implementation. Deondra has a track record of success in being a catalyst for change and a driver of results, driven to improve processes and operations. She is an astute business strategist who is driven, engaging, collaborative and results-focused. An inspirational leader who serves as a strategic business partner, cultural change steward and operational expert. Effectively lead change management process strategies that facilitate organizational transformation and increase overall capabilities. Possesses an inclusive management style that encourages idea sharing and inspires exceptionalism in others. Proven ability to design and deliver a comprehensive range of learning solutions which produce measurable results.