Friday, April 23, 2021

Black & Latino Residents Feared for Their Safety Amid Capitol Riots

As domestic terrorists breached the Capitol, Bryan Campion-Thompson watched in horror as the city he was born and raised in fell siege. As sirens blared past his apartment on Massachusetts Avenue, Campion grew increasingly frightened by what was happening.

Supporters of President  Trump yelled insults and chanted “four more years” refusing to leave despite a curfew enacted by Mayor Muriel Bowser. Campion, who is a Black American, stated “I felt so powerless. It felt as if there is no one here to protect us”.

The entire nation watched in horror as they witnessed thousands of insurrectionists storm the Capitol to challenge the 2020 Presidential Election results. But in Washington, DC, a city that has been built and shaped by hardworking Black Americans, immigrants, and Latinos, the terror unfolded at home, forcing the residents to lock themselves in their homes or commute from work through downtown streets filled with white supremacists and law enforcement officials who have been very hostile towards their communities.

As local police worked to secure streets surrounding the Capitol on Wednesday night, Mayor Bowser extended a public emergency for 15 days. This order stated that people who came to Washington, DC “for the purpose of engaging in violence and destruction” had fired bricks, bottles, guns, and chemical irritants.

Yesterday, Mayor Bowser went further, calling once against for Congress to make the city its own state, with the same representation in the Senate and House afforded by the 50 states. Trevon McClain-El, a communications manager for a community health program who was born and raised in Washington, DC, stated, ““We don’t have a voice as a people, but people come here from other parts of the country and voice their opinions from their respective areas.”

Evelyn Andrade, who is the daughter of the owner of El Tamarindo, stated “We were fearing for our safety. If they were able to get away with what they were doing with federal property, yeah, we wanted to shut down and make sure all of our staff were safe.”

Greisa Martinez Rosas, who lives in NoMa said that she knew things were bad once she received a call from the chief security officer of United We Dream, the immigrant youth-led organization where she works. As an undocumented immigrant, she said she and her family had “go bags” with extra cash, snacks and water ready from last year’s summer protests following George Floyd’s killing. She said the bags “are for in case we needed to leave really quickly. And yesterday was a day we actually took them out. We were prepared to leave”.

USA Today