We Stand for Democracy and Against White Nationalism

January 8, 2021

Maryland Nonprofits condemns the violent breach of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 and the systemic conditions that made such a horrific and dangerous event possible. We call on our elected leaders to hold accountable all those who were involved in planning, supporting, and abetting this attack on our democracy.

The gross inequities of the events of January 6 underscore how differently white people are treated by law enforcement in America than Black and brown people. The stark contrast in how gently yesterday’s events were handled, compared to the brutal response to Black Lives Matter protests last summer, fully exposes systemic injustice. Had the people who scaled the walls of the Capitol yesterday been Black or identifiably Muslim, we are certain that far more people would have been killed and injured. It was not long ago that a Black woman, Miriam Carey, drove her car into a security barrier at the White House. The Capitol Police fired 26 bullets, hitting Miriam five times and killing her while her baby was strapped into the car seat.

These events demonstrate the often dramatically different experiences faced by white and Black Americans each day. This is something that each of us is called upon to improve. All Americans are at risk when law enforcement systemically looks the other way from white crime, just as we are all at risk when overly violent tactics are used on Black and brown people. While we are calling on our law enforcement agencies to enforce existing laws more equitably, we recognize an urgent need to build new structures, systems, and agencies to help advance a more just world.

President Donald Trump must be held fully accountable for his incitement of and loving response toward militant seditionists, and his intentional acts to thwart the will of the people and the requirements of the Constitution.

The movement to disrupt our democracy is rooted in white nationalism that is growing in the US and around the world. We have seen, time and again, that when Black-led, multi-racial movements make progress – such as during the Black Lives Matter and civil rights movements – the forces that seek to maintain systems of oppression push back. The white slaveowners of the Confederate south sought to destroy the US through secession and war rather than abolish slavery, and it is not a coincidence that the Confederate flag was flown proudly by the white mob at the Capitol, in addition to other unspeakable hate symbols of anti-Semitism, the Ku Klux Klan, and white power that were on display.

As Angela Davis said, freedom is a constant struggle. Yet there is no reason to struggle alone. We all have a role to play in delivering true liberty and justice for everyone. Maryland Nonprofits’ mission is to advance equity and quality of life by leveraging the strength and collective action of the nonprofit community. Our board and staff are united in standing boldly with the forces for racial equity and justice, and for our democracy.

As we move forward from the grief and losses of the pandemic and the exhaustion of a seemingly endless stream of “unprecedented” events, our charitable community remains a vital beacon of action, support, and hope for each other and the communities we serve. Together, we double our efforts to support democracy, oppose racism in all its forms, defend and advance voting rights, and advocate for equity and systems change at national and state levels. We are heartened that our Congress returned to session and worked past 3 AM to complete the certification of the 2020 election results. Our nation will never be the same after what happened on January 6, 2021, and the underlying systemic failures revealed by the pandemic will require us to reimagine our future. If we commit to our collective work and remain true to our values, we will emerge a stronger and more equitable nation.