Derecka Purnell Reflects on the Capitol Hill Riots and Issues a Call to Organize

Derecka Purnell (’17), writer, lawyer, and abolitionist, contributed an opinion to The Guardian, reflecting on both real and mundane violence at the heart of our nation’s capital, and the disparate use of force and failure of democracy in the wake of the Capitol Hill riot (“Look at the Capitol Hill Rioters. Now Imagine If They Had Been Black,” Jan. 7). “What racial justice activists make plain in the spectacle of Trumpism, law and order, and white nationalism is the violent failure of liberals and conservatives to foster any real democracy within these borders. Most of America’s violence is mundane and happens on the floors that were taken over by rioters. Just last week, Congress issued meager $600 pandemic relief checks to people facing widespread hunger, eviction, unemployment, disease and distress. . . . As much as we ought to condemn the nationalists outside the walls of Congress, we must continue to organize against the politicians inside who maintain the racist, capitalist, and militaristic agendas that wreak their destruction beneath the galleries – away from the cameras, away from the scrutiny, and away from the rest of us who actually have good reason fill up the streets.”