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New York, NY 10025
YET ANOTHER BLOW
AGAINST BLACK LIBERATION;
YET ANOTHER AFFIRMATION
THAT WHITE SUPREMACY
CONTINUES TO REIGN
January 13, 2021
The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) was organized in 1968 by attorneys committed to being the legal arm of the Movement for Black Liberation. It is from the basis for our founding that we produce this statement on the acts of sedition and insurgency that the world witnessed at the U. S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The Movement for Black Liberation in the 1960s was a continuation of the movement that began when the first Africans were kidnapped from Africa and stowed in the bottom of ships owned by whites to be used for the express purpose of implementing the vision of white wealth and supremacy based on the exploitation of Black people that necessitated their murder, kidnap and enslavement.
NCBL’s vision of being the legal arm of the Movement for Black Liberation was sparked when its founders witnessed the federal government’s attacks on the leadership of organizations that focused on racial justice and defending Black and oppressed communities of color - the Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO). NCBL’s founders witnessed, among other things, the attacks on SCLC and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the murder of Fred Hampton by the federal and state police. This program was specifically designed to punish and prevent activities by groups that challenged the white supremacist underpinning of the United States and to destroy the groups’ leaders.
The January 6, 2021 activities didn’t challenge white supremacy. It was the ugly face of white supremacy striking out in tantrum form because its leader had lost the election and the party to which he belonged lost control of the U.S. Senate. NCBL continues its commitment to challenge white supremacy by challenging this expression of it.
Since its inception, NCBL has challenged white supremacy and white privilege. In 1968, during its first year in operation, NCBL was part of the legal defense team for Angela Y. Davis and led the defense of the Attica prisoners. NCBL cut its teeth opposing the heinous racial disparities in punishments, which included the targeting of Black and Brown people for acts that in and of themselves were not crimes and giving harsher punishments to them than to similarly situated whites for behavior that was labeled criminal.
The January 6, 2021, acts of sedition and the insurgency by whites, led in part by the “Proud Boys” and others described as Neo-Nazis and white nationalists, at the behest of the President of the United States Donald J. Trump, and witnessed by people all over the world, was at once shocking and confirming that there are indeed two Americas – one in which whites are, even in the midst of destroying property and assaulting people, treated lightly and another in which Black and Brown people are treated harshly, even killed, simply for being Black and Brown.
The violence promulgated by whites against the police, the Congress, and the Capitol building was met not with like force nor more force but seeming with little force, suggesting collusion between the U.S. Capitol police and the white mob.
If it wasn’t so painfully clear that white lives - in this case, the white lives of the mob - were valued more than the lives of those in Congress and those who took seriously the responsibility to protect, one could laugh at witnessing white police officers taking pictures with members of the white mob; one could laugh at the videos capturing a white male rioter going through the halls of Congress with a Confederate flag; one could laugh at a President who is so mentally unstable and deeply racist, who would cultivate the right-wing white mobsters and encourage and promote violence. One could laugh but for the knowledge that demonstrators for racial justice, while engaged in behaviors that should have been protected, have been tear-gassed, assaulted, and disrespected by the police. One could laugh but for the knowledge, Black and Brown people have been killed and maimed in plain view by the police, and those responsible have gone unpunished.
The sedition and insurgency of January 6, called for by the President of the United States, is a glaring confirmation that the white supremacist foundation of this country, despite the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the many civil rights movements and laws, is still strong and undergirds this country. There needs to be an exorcism, a “come to Jesus moment” when those of good, just, and fair minds say “enough is enough” and we truly commit to disavowing racism. Whites have to be willing to let go of white privilege and those people of color who are benefiting from colluding with white privilege have to let go of that benefit. We must all condemn the glaringly open acts of racism, the open rage of whites who feel their white supremacist positions of power are being challenged and lost because Black and Brown people, as well as whites, used the ballot box to oust a president who for most of his life, learning from his father, embraced racism and a Neo-Nazi perspective.
NCBL stands firmly behind its mission to be the legal arm of the Movement for Black Liberation and will join with other organizations and individuals to use this moment in history to push back against the effort to change the narrative of the past year that it is racial justice, ending police murders against Black people and forging a true democracy, that must be the focus of the incoming federal administration and state and local governments.
The first and essential step is to impeach and remove Donald J. Trump from the office of President of the United States and sanction all other elected officials who provided aid to or supported the insurrectionists. Congress must send a loud and clear message to him and his allies that his behavior is unacceptable and violative of the laws he swore to uphold.
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