Yesterday, insurrectionists incited by the President and spurred by legislators spreading false election fraud conspiracies broke past scant lines of police and smashed their way into the US Capitol building. The expressed purpose of the breach was not to simply occupy the building, but to stall proceedings, seize ballots, and do harm to elected officials. It was the inevitable culmination of increasing and converging far-right radicalization of groups who are, in turn, used or ignored by the institutions of government that uphold white supremacy.
The Pennsylvania Youth Congress unequivocally condemns the actions of these domestic terrorists, along with those in power who fueled this movement. Five people are now dead. There must be accountability.
The Pennsylvania Youth Congress also condemns the gaping disparity in police and military action in Washington, DC, against Black Lives Matter protests as opposed to the response to political demonstrations backing white nationalism, including this latest armed insurrection. It has been made abundantly clear just who they serve and protect.
For the past decade, the Pennsylvania Youth Congress has worked to uplift and empower young LGBTQ Pennsylvanians to civically engage for their rights and wellbeing, and that of their communities. The backlash of white rage on display as we saw yesterday is chilling, and dangerous, but it failed to diminish the results of countless young people, especially Black and brown Americans and those from marginalized communities, who are working countless hours building relationships, having conversations, knocking on doors, phone banking, or doing whatever it takes to advocate for their issues and get the vote out. That work stands strong.
Now, more than at any point in most of our lives, is the time to intentionally take care. Take care of the people around us. Take care of ourselves. Take care to educate. Take care to have uncomfortable conversations. Take care to protect our rights. Take care to engage in our communities. Take care of those of us who are vulnerable to harm. We will continue to take care of each other.
Strength builds when we recognize we are responsible for each other’s lives. The most important factor for human survival – greater than any weapon or shield – is community.