Tue | Mar 9, 2021

Diaspora group condemns Capitol Hill riots

Published:Saturday | January 16, 2021 | 7:12 AM
Armed members of the National Guard stand guard outside the US Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, January 14, 2021.
Armed members of the National Guard stand guard outside the US Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, January 14, 2021.

Jamaican diaspora leaders in the northeast USA have joined to condemn the recent mob attack on the US Capitol, describing it as an assault on the nation’s democratic principles.In a statement to the media on Friday, the group called for a renewed focus on identifying and confronting “social and economic inequality wherever it exists.”

On behalf of the Jamaica Diaspora Northeast USA community, we vigorously condemn the January 6, 2021 invasion of the US Capitol by riotous mobs attempting to disrupt the certification of the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris. This grave act was an assault on the democratic principles on which this nation was established and has functioned.

The insurrectionists desecrated a structure that is a symbol of American democracy. They endangered the lives of elected officials, and they showed a blatant disregard for the sanctity of the electoral process and the building that is home to those who defend our constitutional rights daily.

This episode is a stark reminder that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Securing a plural American democracy demands that we confront, unmask and uproot deep-seated hate, racist rhetoric and actions, as we continue the valiant fight for equal rights and justice.

We join our voices with others across this nation to say no to intolerance, injustice, discrimination, persecution, and disenfranchisement. We call on every honest and just person in America to spotlight social and economic inequality wherever it exists. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, whose birthday we will celebrate on January 18th, understood all too clearly that America would never really be strong while the weak and vulnerable were ignored or persecuted. He realized how contagious hatred could be, and he understood the healing power of compassion and kindness. Apathy and indifference can be just as deadly as acts of aggression.

The Jamaica Diaspora Northeast USA must, in the coming days and years, strive to provide a salient response to the challenge.

Our response must demonstrate our courage, mental fortitude and resolve in restoring community well-being, which includes an unapologetic re-dedication to the self-love principles prescribed and practised by the Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey. This requires uncompromised leadership through strategic thinking and transformational actions.

Our partnerships, our organisations, our networks, our knowledge eco-systems, and our faith-based institutions must contribute to a better informed, more intelligent, and empowered community, and by extension a better America for everyone.

This mandate could not be more urgent and more critical. The Jamaica Diaspora Northeast USA must capture this defining moment in American history – NOW.Referencing the unifying role of North American statesman, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, the leaders also invited participation from the black community in the MLK Day of Service and Reflection to be held on January 18.

To participate in the MLK Day of Service and Reflection on January 18th at 6 p.m., visit @JANED or @drkarren on Facebook.

• Dr Karren Dunkley, Global Jamaica Diaspora Council Northeast Representative.

• Dr Claire Nelson, founder & president, Institute of Caribbean Studies, Washington, DC.

• Mayor Phelicia Nembhard, New Carrollton, Maryland.

• Jazz Clayton-Hunt, president, Jamaica Organization of New Jersey, JON-J.

• Andrew Sharpe, chairman, Authentic Caribe.