Thoughts on Yesterday
January 7, 2021
At the core of our mission is the belief that words matter. Yesterday, as we witnessed an insurrection and violence incited by the words of the president, that became yet again clear. What is also painfully clear is that the driving force behind this act was this country’s failure to renounce white supremacy—and it was white supremacy and white privilege which made yesterday’s police response dramatically different from what Black Lives Matter protesters have experienced.
Literary Arts Series speaker Ibram X. Kendi spoke this morning with Here & Now‘s Tonya Mosley about the overt contrast between how the overwhelmingly white extremists were treated by law enforcement on Wednesday and how Black Lives Matter protesters have been treated over the past year:
“When you talk to Black folks, when you talk to other folks of color, when you talk to women, when you talk to low-income groups,” Kendi told Mosley, “One of the fundamental things that they have said historically, and that they still say today, is that they do not feel free—even free to speak out against what is aggrieving them. Or, they don’t feel as free, particularly as free as the folks who stormed the Capitol yesterday.”
SAL is committed to a vibrant democracy, and to the role that language and story play in supporting it. And SAL is committed to cultivating opportunities for creative and critical thinking that continuously and courageously revitalize equity, justice, and belonging. In the coming days, we’ll continue to share how SAL speakers are framing, processing, and thinking critically about this moment and the centuries of white supremacy that brought us here.
In the meantime, we hope that you are finding ways to take care of yourself—hugging a loved one in your bubble, giving a friend a call, or, of course, flipping through the pages of a book.
Ruth E. Dickey
SAL Executive Director