We are still reeling after watching the chaos that unfolded on Wednesday as protesters stormed the Capitol, overrunning police barricades, brandishing weapons and ransacking offices.
The image of a man amidst the mob wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words “Camp Auschwitz” was particularly haunting.
Equally disturbing was the image a few months ago of peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors being shot, arrested and chased down while protesting systemic racism. Why is it that peaceful protestors were met with violence, but these domestic terrorists who directly destroyed property, trespassed, instigated violence, and violated federal laws while contesting a fairly decided election were simply walked away from the Capitol? We know why this outcome was so different. The majority of the people who stormed the Capitol were white.
We know what we are looking at because we have seen it too many times before. Call them right-wing activists, conspiracy theorists, white supremacists or extreme fringe groups. It doesn’t matter. They are all euphemisms for hate.
At NCJW/Essex we stand together against hate in all its forms. We will continue to work with advocates across New Jersey and the country, with our partners, and our elected officials to demand justice.
Those who work toward damaging our democracy have been empowered in recent years. They leave behind, at a minimum, a distrust in government and, at worst, the seeds of violence and fear. The cleanup on Wednesday was literal. Another striking image was one taken after the Capitol had been cleared: NJ Congressman Andy Kim helping to pick up the mess left behind.
Repairing the damage left in the wake of this hate means strengthening our towns, our state and our nation by recommitting to the work we at NCJW/Essex do best: forming and engaging in coalitions; becoming better allies; advocating, volunteering and participating in community service.
The fortitude of our country comes from people standing together, working toward its betterment and against threats to democracy. That is our power. That is the wall that cannot be breached.
Thank you for standing with us.