MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The National Civil Rights Museum in downtown Memphis has released a statement on the riots at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.
“Dr. King once said, “We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.”
Words matter. Leadership matters.
The siege on Capitol Hill yesterday during the joint Congress’ ratification of the presidential election should be condemned, not coddled. What the world witnessed yesterday was not a protest, but a riotous mob and an insurrection. We need to call it what it is. The intent was to overthrow our democracy, the will of American voters and to undermine our constitutional process – not to secure an inalienable right.
It matters that, while we don’t always agree, we can be civil. We also must seek to be fair and equitable in our response to those who are true peaceful protestors.
The unpreparedness of law enforcement for an event that was both created and promoted to undermine democracy is curious at best. The peaceful protests that were interrupted last spring and summer by those who wanted to create chaos, were met with police in riot gear and, in DC, the military. We cannot deny the difference in the handling of those groups that were predominantly black and marching to protect the lives of black people, to the treatment yesterday's rioters received.
The response yesterday poured salt on the gaping wounds of racism that persist in this country. We must not perpetuate this behavior and make excuses for it. Enough is enough! This needs to end!”