Several issues were not covered at President Joe Biden’s first formal press conference since taking office, including hate and its deadly tentacles. The president nor the press addressed the current events tied to what many experts are calling one of the most pressing issues of our time — a rise in hate crimes and white supremacy.
A recent report produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, and officially ordered by the White House in January explains the problem in its title: Domestic Violent Extremism Poses Heightened Threat in 2021.
According to the study, the most lethal threats are racially and ethnically motivated crimes that are suspected to produce mass casualty events by militia violent extremists.
One event fresh on the minds of Americans is the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, where the majority of white men, now said to be gathered by the racist groups The Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. The attack left five people dead. It is estimated the 40,000 people converged on the Capitol that day and only 300 have been arrested thus far.
Additionally, the threats of more racist and insurrectionist violence are why the National Guard remains stationed in front of the Capitol as well as tall fencing surrounding both the Capitol building and White House.
Policing sources contend there were 25,000 to 30,000 people who went through the magnetometer on the Ellipse for the president’s speech. Thousands of more people stayed outside of the perimeter as it is believed they knew they could not pass the inspections with the backpacks and packages they had.
Concerns have escalated over threats and suspicious activity. In recent weeks, a man was arrested not far from the Naval Observatory — the official residence of Vice President Kamala Harris. Authorities found a gun and ammunition and made an arrest in the case; adding to a very tense situation a deadly rise in Asian hate.
Lawn signs and posts on social media are not only supporting Black Lives Matter, but even more so now there is solidarity with the slogan “Asian Lives Matter” in the face of violent deadly attacks, including the fatal spa shootings in the Atlanta area that left eight people dead.
“We should remember that as heavy as this moment is, that it’s occurring because we’re winning, not because we’re losing,” said Eric Ward, executive director of Western States Center and a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“What we’re dealing with is a backlash to the gains of 75 years of civil rights struggle, amplified most recently by Black Lives Matter and a younger generation. But our ancestors fought and sacrificed to get us to this moment. So let’s take it seriously.
He added, “We are dealing with this because we are shifting the society towards inclusion and towards democracy. Let’s hold on to our imagination, even in the midst of the horror.”
As society is shifting to inclusion, the attempts to change the dynamic are ever-present with the recently passed law SB 202 in Georgia. It is one more effort to silence Black and minority voters. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said it is divisive and suppresses the vote.
In a tweet, Stacey Abrams said, “GOP legislators gave themselves the right to takeover local elections & throw out results. She added, “This is cowardice.”
President Biden called the law “un-American law” and likened it to Jim Crow in the 21st Century, giving it the name “Jim Eagle.”
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