Thanks to Black women, Jan. 6 started off as a day of celebration. As Georgia's Senate election results started to roll in, the tireless work of Stacey Abrams and other organisers came to fruition when Rev. Raphael Warnock secured a win and Jon Ossoff's chances looked hopeful. However, a joyful morning suddenly turned into an afternoon of terror when rioters, incited by Donald Trump's election lies, mobbed the US Capitol.
On Wednesday, members of Congress and the Senate gathered at the Capitol in an attempt to ratify the results of the 2020 presidential election. A few Republican politicians planned to play into Trump's "stolen election" claims by publicly objecting to the certification and delaying the process. However, not long after the first objection to Arizona's vote, a mob of extremist Trump supporters swarmed the building. They broke down barricades, smashed windows, walked past police, and flaunted their white privilege as they flashed smiles for photos in the 228-year-old building. Many politicians and constituents alike froze in place as events transpired, while, once again, Black women were the ones to demand change in the face of fear.
Shortly after the ambush on the Capitol, newly elected Missouri representative Cori Bush called for the expulsion of Republican congresspeople who "incited this domestic terror attack" by refusing to accept the election results. Her resolution (Bush's very first, by the way) would likely focus on politicians who openly advocated for objecting the election certification like Elise Stefanik, Thomas Massi, and Kevin Cramer, among others. "They have broken their sacred Oath of Office," she tweeted.
I believe the Republican members of Congress who have incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election must face consequences. They have broken their sacred Oath of Office.— Congresswoman Cori Bush (@RepCori) January 6, 2021
I will be introducing a resolution calling for their expulsion. pic.twitter.com/JMTlQ4IfnR
Meanwhile, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota pledged to draw up new Articles of Impeachment, arguing Trump — who called the mob "very special" — is a danger to the nation he's supposed to represent. "We can't allow him to remain in office, it's a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfil our oath," she tweeted. Massachusett Rep. Ayanna Pressley demanded the same after witnessing the "unacceptable" attack firsthand.
Our country is beyond fortunate to have these congresswomen fighting for democracy, but that burden can't continue to fall on their shoulders. California congresswoman Maxine Waters once said, "We [as Black women] are people who are poised to fight, to push back. We are a people who know what the struggle is all about and we don't give up." Like Abrams's organisation in Georgia, we consistently see Black women protect a country that doesn't do the same for them. They ran for political office in record numbers last year. They showed up and turned the tide in favour of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
Where their counterparts hesitate, Black women in politics take action. They're among the first to demand change, despite rarely getting credit for effecting that change. So show them appreciation by making your support public and proud all the time, not just when the country needs something from them. Even better, help fund the campaigns of Black women so they can continue taking bold, brave measures. And don't rely on them to do all of the work. Politicians and constituents alike can raise their own voices, spark their own movements. Black women have shouldered this weight alone for too long.