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Democracy NC Responds to Jan. 6 Insurrection at the U.S. Capital

Statement can be attributed to Democracy North Carolina Executive Director Tomas Lopez:

What we are witnessing at the United States Capitol is an attempt to invalidate the outcome of a free and fair election, and subvert representative government through violence and intimidation. It is the result of years of attempts to undermine democracy itself by limiting its reach, questioning its value, and attacking the truth on which popular rule relies.


“This insurrection is about not only rejecting the outcome from November’s election and the legitimacy of the people who voted in it, this is an act of white supremacy attacking a body politic that includes and accounts for the voices of Black, brown and low-wealth communities.”

While we await a fuller understanding of what took place inside the Capitol, today’s images also depict a stark contrast in the ways law enforcement treated this white mob compared to the violent treatment of previous Black Lives Matter demonstrators by federal officers in Washington and elsewhere.

We are focused today on Washington, but it has everything to do with North Carolina and all of us who call it home. Our state’s elected officials must immediately and forcefully reject not only today’s violence, but the lies and conspiracy theories that animated it.

It should go without saying that the electoral process should resume without further interruption.

But beyond the immediate process of affirming the results of the 2020 election, today underscores the need to have laws that give people a meaningful voice in their government, democratic practices that give those laws life, and a shared commitment to the value of democracy itself.

Why we won’t be calling January 6th’s insurrection a “terrorist” attack

At Democracy North Carolina, we believe calling the Capitol riot ‘terrorism’ will only hurt the communities of color we have vowed to protect.

Attorneys Diala Shamas and Tarek Z. Ismail wrote in their recent Washington Post op-ed, “Our position isn’t that the mob that invaded the Capitol doesn’t fit the various definitions of terrorism. Nor is our position that such incidents are not terrifying — they are. Rather, we argue that our response shouldn’t be so fixated on getting the state to treat these actions as terrorism. Doing so will only backfire: Expanding whom we call terrorists supposes that more law enforcement means more justice or fairness. That is ahistoric. National crises and acts of terrible violence, no matter who perpetrated them, have always been used to justify the expansion of government authority — whether through legislation, budget inflation or the loosening of hard-won civil liberties protections.”

As Shamas and Ismail accurately point out, the word “terrorism” has been used for decades in our country to stoke fear, fuel racist policies, and thwart important dialogue about the types of violence and rhetoric we witnessed in Washington D.C. on January 6th.

It is our job now as advocates for all voters to therefore begin to end its usage in the interest of broadening the conversations on the real societal and political causes of this event and any that not only threaten free and fair elections, but American lives.

The future of our democracy demands we go further, delve deeper, and work harder.