MSU Department of Sociology Statement on the Events of January 6, 2021

January 29, 2021

MSU Department of Sociology Statement on the Events of January 6, 2021

What we witnessed in the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 is nothing short of a violent attempt to overthrow the valid results of a fair, legal election and prevent the peaceful transfer of power in our country. Emboldened by a virulently racist President (and his closest enablers) and intoxicated with the dangerous elixir of rage and misinformation, coordinated, faux-paramilitary groups stormed the Capitol in a desperate attempt to defend our country’s white supremacist order. The acts of violence perpetrated during the storming of the US Capital are abhorrent and should not—will not—be tolerated or viewed as anything other than domestic terrorism.

Given the values we endorse, MSU Department of Sociology declares the following.

We denounce:
• Former President Trump’s actions in provoking such violent seditious activities;
• the treasonous acts of those who stormed the Capitol Building (and the Capitol employees who may have aided them);
• the tepid response by law enforcement authorities; and
• attempts by media and public figures to simplistically and falsely equate the vulgar actions of these violent insurgents with the peaceful activities of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters.

We urge elected officials to:
hold accountable those elected officials and law enforcement officers who aided and abetted the heinous activities perpetrated on January 6, 2021 and openly planned in the preceding weeks;
take seriously the crucial contributions to conversations on racism and white supremacy from organizations like BLM, whose insights are foundational to an action plan that addresses the threat posed by domestic, right-wing hate groups;
more fully investigate the historical and contemporary infiltration of law enforcement agencies and military by such hate groups; and
provide support to researchers, activists, community members, and organizations seeking to revitalize civic engagement with the purpose of creating a more robust democracy rooted in principles of equity.

We demand our department, college, and university administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni to:
take action to call out the systemic racism, fascism, and white nationalism within our communities and institutions;
hold accountable our colleagues, students, staff, and broader community to creating climates and cultures that promote inclusion, diversity, transparency and social justice; and
support the work in our learning environments to challenge white supremacy and promote justice, democracy, and inclusion.

While our country was founded upon ideals of democracy, liberty, opportunity, and equality, we nevertheless have not fully realized—let alone closely approached—such ideals in practice. The events of January 6, 2021 are but one manifestation of the perceptible rise in fascistic tendencies and place in sharp relief just how much work remains in the long march toward a more just, equitable, and inclusive society.

We commit to holding ourselves and others accountable to take action.

We commit, in the words of Audre Lorde, to do the work of creating, sustaining, and reimagining justice.

We commit to honor the courageous actions of US Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman, who defended our elected officials against shade.

We commit to light and, in words of our nation’s first Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, to be “brave enough to be it.”