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Marc Morial
Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Congressional District 5
Steny H. Hoyer

 

 Marc Morial, President and CEO National Urban League

To Be Equal: One Year Later, the January 6 Insurrection Still Rages On

“Our democracy was inches from ruin. Our system of government was stretched to the breaking point. Members and staff were terrorized. Police officers fought hand to hand for hours. People lost their lives … Either you’re on the side of helping us figure out why, or you’re trying to stop us from getting those answers. You can parade out whatever argument you want, but really, that’s all there is to it. In real life, there aren’t a lot of bright-line moments. This is one of them.”

—U.S. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Chair of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

A year ago today, Americans watched in horror and revulsion as a savage mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, intent upon overturning a fair and free election through violence or even murder, if necessary.

The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol has interviewed more than 300 witnesses and reviewed tens of thousands of documents. The Department of Justice has charged more than 700 defendants with alleged crimes ranging from entering restricted Capitol grounds to conspiracy against the United States.

Yet the attack on American democracy continues, unabated.

The ongoing assault relies less on brute violence —though the threat is ever-present – and more on subversion. But the motivation, the fuel, and the ultimate goal remain as stark and repugnant as they were revealed to be on that dark day one year ago.

The motivation is furious resentment of the historic Black and Brown voter turnout that contributed to the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.  The fuel is the “Big Lie”—the ugly myth that the election was “stolen.”   And the goal is not only to disenfranchise Black and Brown Americans with repressive voting laws, not only to dilute their influence with manipulative racial gerrymandering, but to ignore the results of elections entirely.

In the aftermath of the 2020 election, enemies of pressured election officials to “find” more votes for the losing candidate, to throw out votes for the winning candidate, and to publicize baseless claims of voter fraud. They filed lawsuit after lawsuit seeking to invalidate votes in counties with large Black and Brown populations.

And when those election officials resisted their pressure and judges dismissed their false claims, they launched a campaign to replace those officials and judges.

“For more than a year now, with tacit and explicit support from their party’s national leaders, state Republican operatives have been building an apparatus of election theft,” journalist Barton Gellman wrote in The Atlantic. “Elected officials in Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and other states have studied Donald Trump’s crusade to overturn the 2020 election. They have noted the points of failure and have taken concrete steps to avoid failure next time. Some of them have rewritten statutes to seize partisan control of decisions about which ballots to count and which to discard, which results to certify and which to reject. They are driving out or stripping power from election officials who refused to go along with the plot last November, aiming to replace them with exponents of the Big Lie. They are fine-tuning a legal argument that purports to allow state legislators to override the choice of the voters.”

The work of the Justice Department and the January 6 Committee is vital to uncovering the origins of the deadly insurrection and to holding the perpetrators accountable. But the most dangerous conspirators weren’t the ones strutting the halls of Congress in horned fur hats and superhero costumes. They’re the ones quietly dismantling democracy in state capitols across the country. And they must be held to account too.

 


 

 

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Marian Wright Edelman

ChildWatch: Honoring Beloved Archbishop Desmond Tutu

On December 26, the world lost beloved South African Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu. An outspoken defender of human rights and campaigner for justice for the oppressed, Archbishop Tutu was a prophetic voice in our world today revered for his commitment to fighting poverty, racism, and all forms of discrimination against any human beings, and his dedication to reshaping our conversations about peace, equality, and forgiveness. He left his early career as a teacher to protest the 1953 Bantu Education Act that segregated South Africa’s schools. He then followed the calling to the priesthood, and ultimately became a moral leader adored and respected around the world who fought first for the end of South African apartheid and then for the truth-telling and reconciliation his nation required in order to move forward.

As a joyful, holy man who spent his whole life in solidarity with marginalized people, Archbishop Tutu was always a champion for children. Several years ago he sent a special video address to attendees at the Children’s Defense Fund’s annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry, where his daughter, Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu, has been a valued workshop leader. In this message to faithful child advocates he shared a timeless exhortation for pursuing justice: “Justice needs champions. Good leaders with the ability to identify the challenges and the tenacity to address them. Good leaders driven not by personal ambition, but by an innate desire to improve the circumstances of the human family and the human condition.”

He continued: “We inhabit a moral universe. Goodness, righteousness, and fairness matter. We are born to love—all of us, including black, Latino, and white [children] and everyone else. As members of the human family—God’s family—we were created with equal, infinite worth for interdependence. In conditions of harmony, equity, and common purpose, the whole family thrives. God does not use strong-armed tactics to ensure justice is done. God empowers us to do the right thing. It is up to us—you, and you, and you, and me.”

Archbishop Tutu then shared what he believed is God’s dream for all human children: “And God says, I have a dream. I have a dream that all of my children will discover that they belong in one family—my family, the human family; a family in which there are no outsiders; all are held in the embrace of the one whose love will never let us go; the one who says that each one of us is of incredible worth, that each one of us is precious to God because each of us has their name written on the palms of God’s hands. And God says, there are no outsiders—black, white, red, yellow, short, tall, young, old, rich, poor, gay, lesbian, straight—everyone. All belong. And God says, I have only you to help me realize my dream. Help me.”

I hope we can realize this dream for all humankind. I believe we can realize God’s and Archbishop Tutu’s dream if each of us holds ourselves accountable and understands that it is up to us to do whatever is necessary to pass on to our children and grandchildren a better and more just country and world than we inherited. Here at home we can move America closer to being that family and nation where everyone belongs and everyone has worth. But to do so, we must wake up, open our eyes and ears, avoid convenient ignorance, seek the truth, speak up, stand up, and never give up fighting for justice for all. We can do this, even in this very difficult moment, if a critical remnant among us is determined to commit ourselves to being the good leaders and champions for justice that poor children, children of color, and all children need. We can honor Archbishop Tutu now by following his holy example and using our own hands to help.

 

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 Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Congressional District 5

Hoyer Hosts Virtual Roundtable on Measures to Expand Broadband Access in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

WASHINGTON (Jan. 5, 2022)—Today, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) joined key leaders in Maryland’s broadband community to discuss how the bipartisan infrastructure law, which he brought to the House Floor and was enacted last year, will help expand access to broadband coverage in Maryland.

“Today I was glad to join leaders in Maryland’s broadband community to discuss the significant broadband investments for Marylanders in the bipartisan infrastructure law,” said Congressman Hoyer. “Last year, I joined many of these broadband advocates to hear about the great need to expand broadband access in Maryland, and today I was pleased to reconnect with them and share how this bipartisan law will deliver tremendously for residents across our state.”

“Under the bipartisan infrastructure law, Maryland will receive a minimum of $100 million to expand coverage of high-speed internet targeting the nearly 150,000 Marylanders who don’t yet have access. Over 17 percent of Marylanders will also qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Benefit, so that more families can afford access to the internet. These funds are essential for connecting folks to emerging virtual resources like telehealth, bridging divides in education, and expanding economic opportunities for more Marylanders. In addition, these resources will help us tackle lingering social and racial inequities in broadband access,” continued Congressman Hoyer.

“I was proud to have helped work in Congress to see this law was enacted, and thank each of our participants for their insights and suggestions today. I am excited to see all of the gains this law will bring to Marylanders, and look forward to continuing my work with Maryland’s broadband experts to bridge the digital divide and help every Marylander get online.”

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