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January 7, 2020, Benton Harbor, MI – The OutCenter of Southwest Michigan is appalled by the recent events in the nation’s capital. We are committed to calling the violent mob what it was: a coup led by insurrectionists that had been encouraged by the President of the United States to reject a formal and legitimate practice of certifying the electoral college votes. Our hearts go out to Washington DC’s residents who are now under emergency order until after the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Vice-President-elect Kamala D. Harris; our hearts also reach out to the families of the four people who died in the coup attempt yesterday. 

Our friends at Funders for LGBTQ Issues couldn’t have said it any better: “We are shocked but not surprised. We’ve heard the escalation in rhetoric over the past four years of the Trump Administration, rhetoric with roots in the ugliest parts of our national history. Black, indigenous, people of color, immigrants, women, LGBTQ people, and those of us at the intersections have been the targets of these white nationalists and insurrectionists, and for too long the threat against us has not been taken seriously. We are angered by the hypocrisy of law enforcement and the obvious disproportionate criminalization of BIPOC, queer, and trans people. The stark difference in law enforcement response to largely peaceful protests for racial justice compared to the complacency and collusion of law enforcement we witnessed yesterday is appalling.” Read their full press release here.

We echo our Governor’s call to “put the election behind us,” but more importantly, we call on everyone to remember how many people voted for “leaders” who are not devoted to equity, equality of justice. We also ask everyone to continuously recognize that white supremacy is alive, thriving, and extremely dangerous in our country. The United Way of Southwest Michigan’s 21 Day Equity Challenge is a great way to become much more aware of racism within our family and work cultures. Continue your journey with Lake Michigan College’s MLK Celebration week and our Social Justice Reader’s program. It is imperative that we struggle against White Supremacist violence, unfounded conspiracies, and blatant disregard for the lives and the well-being of others in schools, places of business, and towns across this country.

We must keep the work of antiracism in front of us and see very clearly how differently BLM protestors were treated in 2020 compared to how yesterday’s domestic terrorists were treated by law enforcement in our highest halls of justice and diplomacy. 

We call on Michiganders to keep the truth of the election results in front of us and denounce conspiracy theories in family gatherings, online conversations, and wherever they are mentioned.