CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS REFLECTS ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE JANUARY 6th INSURRECTION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2022
CONTACT: Remmington F. Belford
CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS REFLECTS
ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE JANUARY 6TH INSURRECTION
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) and the Congressional Black Caucus released the reflections on the anniversary of the January 6th Insurrection:
“We watched in horror as armed insurrectionists laid siege to the seat of our democracy. We feared for our lives and the lives of our staff. We bunkered down and sent prayers up — despite this, former President Trump refused to call off his sea of sycophantic supporters hoping to dismantle democracy as we know it. That infamous day is a painful stain that will resonate for years to come,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty. “January 6, 2021, is just one of the reasons why it is paramount we remain committed to ensuring voting rights are a priority. Passing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act will fortify our democratic process, combat barriers to the ballot box, and targeted gerrymandering of our districts. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action so that we never see a day like January 6th, 2021 again.”
“January 6, 2021 will be forever known as a day of discredit and disgrace, much like December 7, 1941 was ‘a date that will live in infamy,’ as described by Franklin Roosevelt,” said Majority Whip James E. Clyburn. “I trust that the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack will reveal the truth about the insurrection and the American people will see the mob’s action as nothing more or less than an attempt to overturn a free and fair election. January 6, 2021 underscores the need to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.”
“The week of January 6 was not only when Congress would certify America’s resounding preference for President Biden – it also marked the swearing-in of the largest number of Black legislators in our Congress’ history. The week of January 6th was indeed a watershed moment in Black political history. The advancements we’ve made as a Nation, and as Black people, must be secured by renewing our commitment to Democracy and promoting racial equality. As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I’ll be leading efforts to promote Democracy globally. In the past year, we witnessed more coups worldwide than the previous five years combined. If we fail to address the threats to our Democracy that Jan. 6 put on display to the world, we risk losing not only our moral authority abroad but our country itself,” said Congressman Gregory W. Meeks.
“January 6, 2021, will, without doubt, be recorded as one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. We all watched in shock as thousands of insurrectionists—fellow Americans poisoned by hateful and dishonest rhetoric—converged on our Capitol Building with the intent to overturn the results of a free and fair election,” said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson. “Now, only a year removed from this day, we have more questions than we have answers, more problems than we have solutions, and more divisiveness than we have unity. Our democracy remains in peril, not only from the remnants of January 6th but also the widespread disenfranchisement of Black voters across the country. Let us therefore use this day to rededicate ourselves to the preservation of the sacred right to vote and the protection of our democratic institutions.”
“The deadly insurrection of January 6, 2021 was more than an attack on a building. It was an assault against members of Congress, our staff, law enforcement, and the very soul of democracy,” said Congressional Black Caucus 1st Vice-Chair Steven Horsford. “Rebuilding from the insurrection starts with accountability for those responsible. But it also means restoring the faith in democracy that has been damaged in recent years. As First Vice Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, I join our Chairwoman Joyce Beatty to call on the Senate to act with urgency and pass a voting rights bill into law. Our democracy is only strong when all Americans have a voice in government.”
“January 6, 2021, was one of the darkest days in American history, and it’s one that I will never forget. There was a heinous attack on our Capitol, our Constitution, and our democracy. I vividly remember the sounds of gunshots, shouting, and banging on the doors all around us in the House chamber—not knowing why this was happening. Democrats and Republicans were both running for their lives that day, fearing for our safety. Despite the terrorist attack, we certified the election results—as is our constitutional responsibility. I want everyone to remember that while our country was shaken to its core that day, democracy did prevail. The insurrectionists did not win, democracy did. And all of us have a responsibility to protect our democracy every single day from those who seek to undermine it,” said Congressional Black Caucus 2nd Vice Chair Brenda Lawrence. “I also want to take a moment to remember and honor the brave Capitol Officers who lost their lives and were put in harm's way. And we recognize the Capitol workers who worked tirelessly to restore the Capitol complex in the aftermath of the attack. We must do everything in our power to make sure the insurrection never happens again. That’s exactly why I voted in favor of establishing the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack, which is made up of Democrats and Republicans. The American people deserve answers, and we must make sure that every person who played a part in the insurrection, including government officials, are held responsible. In the year since the terrorist attack, there are those who are trying to rewrite history and diminish January 6th. We can’t let that happen. Let today be a reminder that while our democracy is fragile, it will always prevail—but only if we choose to do so.”
“The 2020 election saw historic participation from Black voters in Georgia and other battleground states, and the result was the election of the first Black woman as Vice President; but we cannot forget that the January 6 attack on the Capitol was instigated in part by President Trump’s claims that Black votes were illegitimate,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams. “The attack involved multiple far-right, white supremacist groups, and the end goal was to prevent the election of President Biden and Vice President Harris. We must remember the January 6 attack and the motivations behind it, because we cannot change these attitudes until they are acknowledged by Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike.”
“One year ago, our Capitol and our democracy were attacked by a violent mob of insurrectionists encouraged by the former president. Their goal was clear - overturn the results of a free and fair election through intimidation and force. They failed, but the cracks and vulnerabilities in our nation’s institutions were exposed,” said Rep. Anthony G. Brown. “Republicans around the country are making it harder for Americans to vote and hold their elected leaders accountable. Whether through efforts to disenfranchise voters of color or plans to override the will of the voters and hold onto power, we need to call out these anti-democratic actions for what they are and respond with policies that will strengthen our democracy and faith in our elections.
"On the one-year anniversary of the January 6th attack, I join the Capitol Hill community and all Americans in mourning the lives lost, and not forgetting the injuries suffered, especially by U.S. Capitol Police officers, who fought so bravely to protect the nation's Capitol,” said Congressman André Carson. “We also recommit ourselves to the search for justice and accountability. It's clear that this act of terrorism was, in large part, a means to intimidate Black and Brown people, who voted in record numbers to defeat Donald Trump. In the year since the attack, states across America have passed restrictive voting laws aimed at suppressing our political power. We can't let that happen. That's why we must enact the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to send a clear message that our voices matter, and we won't let anyone silence or intimidate us."
“I was in the House Gallery during the attack. I crawled on my hands and knees and hid behind chairs and railings praying for safety for my colleagues, staff and all who work in the Capitol complex. This attack was especially frightening as a Black woman, and I know that many of my colleagues and staff of color have felt a particularly heavy burden in the wake of the insurrection,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly. “I hope that this anniversary will serve as a reminder of the high stakes we face in holding those responsible for the insurrection accountable, in rejecting misinformation, and in pledging our unwavering support to protecting our democracy for the American people.”
“Like most Americans, I witnessed the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol through the television screen — I was still running for election to the House of Representatives,” said Rep. Troy A. Carter Sr. “Even from a thousand miles away, the insurrectionist’s brutal and conspiracy-driven attack on our democratic system and this sacred building shook me to my core. I honor the experiences and bravery of the Capitol Police, Members of Congress, staff, and law enforcement who went through this traumatic event and I stand with the work of the Select Committee on the January 6 Attack to determine the full truth and keep seditionists accountable. Congress must strengthen the pillars of our beloved American democracy to ensure that we both protect the voting and civil rights of our citizenry, and never see another dark day like January 6th again.”
“Although I was not yet a Member of Congress when the violent attack on the Capitol took place on this day last year, I join my colleagues and, indeed, all Americans in solemn observance of the anniversary of one of the darkest days in our history,” said Rep. Shontel M. Brown. “Make no mistake: what occurred on January 6 was a direct assault on the Capitol and democracy itself. Yet even as the Select Committee on the January 6 Attack seeks the truth of what happened that day, while making every effort to ensure those responsible are held accountable, the threat to our democracy continues. In 2021, 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to the ballot box. Today, as we honor the brave officers who defended the temple of our democracy and the members, staff, and all working in the Capitol that day, Congress must take strong action to protect the right to vote and safeguard the integrity of our Republic.”
“One year ago, our country’s most significant symbol of democracy was desecrated by a violent and manic mob that was inspired by Donald Trump. We must hold all who were responsible accountable. We can never forget the lessons of January 6th. Our democracy depends on it,” said Congressman Kweisi Mfume.
“Last year’s January 6 insurrection was a traumatic event that shook our democracy to its core. The brazen attack exposed America’s original moral dilemma—the demon of racism and white supremacy. As the country becomes increasingly multiracial and multicultural, efforts are still underway to further destabilize our democracy,” said Rep. Hank Johnson, GA-04. “As we continue to tackle the root causes underlying the insurrection, we must all join forces in 2022 to counter the ongoing attack on freedom, all while ensuring the protection and preservation of our democracy. Given that Georgia is a central focus of the national battle for our democracy, I stand proud in continuing to support my late friend and mentor’s landmark legislation; the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act.”
Congressman Dwight Evans said, “Attempts to block or overturn valid votes did not end a year ago. They are continuing at the local and state level in several places around the country, and we must have a sense of urgency about this. The Senate has made more than 160 exceptions that let certain types of legislation or confirmations pass with just a simple majority, no filibuster allowed. Still, even with these exceptions, this ‘Swiss cheese filibuster’ currently blocks senators from voting on legislation to protect our most basic right – the right to vote – even as state legislators have passed anti-voting and anti-vote-counting laws on simple majority votes. It is past time for U.S. senators to untie their own hands on such a core constitutional matter.”
“January 6, 2021 was one of the darkest days in our nation's history and a day I will never forget. But I believe that the most important thing that happened that day is not a failed attempt to reject the results of a free and fair election, but that we came back and reaffirmed our democracy later that night,” said Congressman Colin Allred. “The attacks on our democracy and the right to vote did not end that day. We’ve seen states like Texas pass laws to make it harder for certain Americans to have their voices heard, which is why everyone who believes in our democracy –Democrats, Republicans and Independents– must come together and act urgently to protect voting rights and shore up our democracy.”
“One year later, January 6th remains vivid in my mind. It was a sad day for our democracy, as, instead of debate, deliberation, and democratic processes flourishing, the floors of the U.S. Senate and House were overrun with domestic terrorists seeking to overturn our election and undo the grand, 200-year democratic experiment in America. It is unconscionable that a year after this deadly attack, Republicans continue spreading the Big Lie and use it to promote and justify their anti-democratic, voter suppression measures. In my home state of Wisconsin, GOP officials are misusing taxpayer dollars to conduct another sham 2020 election audit, to cast further doubt on the free and fair election,” said Congresswoman Gwen Moore. Milwaukee is always made the target of these allegations of voter fraud, as if the votes of my constituents are less legitimate. These allegations and efforts are not only racist, but are part of another concerted attack on our democracy. We need to preserve the right to vote for every American and make vital reforms to our democracy.”
“Last year’s dastardly assault on American democracy remains a painful, open wound, and if left untreated, will infect the heart of the body politic. The degree of hate and violence displayed in the citadel of our nation’s democracy was chilling and put countless lives in grave danger. For our nation to unite and move forward from this horrific attack, the truth of what happened that day must be known and never forgotten,” Congressman Al Green said. “We cannot allow such a devastating assault to occur again. Without holding accountable those at fault for inciting this insurrection and stoking the flames of hatred and bigotry, liberty and justice cannot prevail.”
“For me, January 6 will forever be known as a day of remembrance, reflection, and recommitment. I remember waking up that morning, tense but excited to participate and witness the certification of Delaware’s first American President. It was the culmination of a hard-fought campaign in the midst of a historic pandemic. I had no idea that the safest most secure election of our lifetime would, on that day, turn into a violent insurrection,” Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester said. “And while I remember a great deal about that day - what I remember most is walking back into the House chamber that morning to complete our work. That morning when democracy prevailed.”
“The events of January 6 and the efforts we’ve seen since that day by Republicans around the country have shown me how fragile our democracy is and how urgent the need is to protect it. It’s time the Senate pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to stop voter suppression and the Protecting Our Democracy Act to prevent future presidents from abusing the powers that the American people bestowed upon them. After the events of last year, the foundational principles of our government are at stake. Fortunately, the best way to defend democracy is to participate in it. That means voting in all your elections, from school board to Senate. That means organizing for candidates you believe in. And it means holding your elected officials accountable — Republican or Democrat, local or federal,” said Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman
“It has been one year since a violent mob, incited by hateful and inflammatory rhetoric from former President Trump, attacked our nation’s Capitol and our democracy,” said Rep. A. Donald McEachin. “January 6th was one of the darkest days in American history, as a mob of sedition and insurrection attempted to overturn the results of a free and fair election. Despite the deadly attack, we came back later that same day to reaffirm our democracy and carry out our constitutional duties. January 6th was a traumatic event for the entire Capitol Hill community, and many are still struggling with the aftermath of the attack. Today, I join my congressional colleagues in remembering the tragic events of that day and in recommitting to the preservation and protection of our democracy.”
“One year ago today, our nation watched in horror as insurrectionists waged a violent assault on our Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of a free and fair election,” said Rep. Terri A. Sewell. “As I was lying on the floor in the House Chamber huddled with other Members of Congress, struggling to fit on a gas mask and fearing the impending violence, I trembled and wept not only for our safety but for the future of our democracy. Today, democracy is still under attack including the sacred right to vote. As we work to hold those responsible for the January 6th attack accountable, the Senate must reform its rules to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. There is nothing more imperative.”
“January 6th was a deadly act of domestic terrorism, representing one of the darkest days in American history. But the truth is, we know the plot to undermine our democracy did not happen overnight. Defending our democracy doesn’t just mean continuing to uncover the truth about January 6th, it also means protecting legitimate elections and voting rights for generations to come. On this solemn anniversary, we honor the bravery of those who defended our Capitol and uphold our oath to the Constitution,” said Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland.
“At the moment that the screaming began and the heroic Capitol Police Officers closed the doors to the Capitol Building, I thought that I and others, might die that day. There was a piercing of one’s dignity—and outrage as to why this year, with a woman of color, an African-American woman of Indian descent, on the ticket to be elected as Vice President, and a President of the United States that had been elected by the largest number of people in the history of the United States, that we would have this attack on our democracy—this attack on a peaceful transfer of power. But then I began to believe in the power of survival and the power of the righteousness of the vote and the power of the righteousness of being a patriot and a Black woman in America, as all of us have helped to make this victory. I felt like we could not lose that and I felt like we must achieve and succeed. I’m grateful to have been in the Speakers Chair at 3:49 AM to gather the counts of the votes, and yes, ensure the safe transfer of power peacefully for the first time in history, certifying that an African-American woman was now serving as the Vice President of the United States of America and Joe Biden, as President of the United States of America. How great a day of celebration. What a Jubilee. We won,” said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
“Today, we mark the anniversary of one of the most tragic events in American history,” said Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. “For the first time ever, American citizens stormed the Capitol Building to illegally change the result of a free and fair election. The right to vote is sacred and all Americans have the right to have their vote counted. What happened on January 6, 2021 should anger ever American. It should convince every national elected official that we need new laws to protect our elections and our votes. I applaud Representative Bennie Thompson and my colleagues who are investigating the horrible events of that day. My prayers continue to go out to the brave law enforcement officials who tried to save our Capitol Building and protect our elected officials from harm during the attack.”
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