[Editor’s note: The following statement was issued by JACL Executive Director David Inoue and Public Affairs VP Sarah Baker and was lightly edited only to adhere to AP Style.]
Today we have seen the culmination of months of seditious rhetoric from the president and his supporters. For too long white supremacy and hate have gone unchecked in our nation; there can be no other word for what has happened today with the storming of the Capitol than treason. These heinous acts, encouraged and supported by our president, should not go unpunished — Congress must immediately begin the process of impeachment and removal of the president of the United States for acts of sedition.
On this day, Congress was supposed to certify the electoral college votes, confirming President-Elect Biden as the next president of the United States. Instead, right-wing terrorists desecrated the Capitol with violence and menacing intent. Law enforcement was not prepared for this situation and their restraint today is in stark contrast to the abhorrent treatment of Black Lives Matter protestors during the summer. What we have seen today at our nation’s Capitol is not only an affront to our democracy, but it sends a clear message to our fellow Americans and the rest of the world that the United States truly does not value Black lives. This is the epitome of white privilege.
JACL emphasizes the importance and the power of words and calls upon the media to report on the situation accurately. These are not protestors; these are violent white supremacist terrorists. To refer to them as protestors denigrates those who engage in legitimate peaceful protest. Social media networks must also crack down on hate groups that have been using these outlets to openly plan the violent acts that have unfolded today.