Our Two Systems of Justice

On Wednesday, January 6th, one of the most undeniable and horrific events occurred. A crowd of people had appeared on Capitol Hill during the counts of the electoral votes in Congress. At around 3 pm, the news had announced that people were standing outside of the capitol building, with Trump 2020 and confederate flags, and MAGA hats, and had decided to call it “protesting” but it was obvious that there was an active riot going on. 

As time went on, more and more people had shown up to the Capitol, becoming more violent. Climbing up the walls and buildings, smashing doors and windows, and vandalizing the offices of Congress members. The news had shown photos of a man in a horn hat and painted face, stepping up to the police, and a photo of a man sitting at house speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk, that has surfaced a large amount of attention.

Many questions ran through my mind as I watched this, in disbelief: What if those people were Black or brown? What if that protest instead would have been for Black Lives Matter, or for a women’s march? Why is the National Guard and police not doing anything today, but in prior protests, arrested people just for coming outside their house? 

As a person of color, I couldn’t help but think, “if this was a Black Lives Matter protest, I feel that the police would have handled this completely differently.” I’ve seen peaceful protests over the summer, where people have been pepper sprayed, sprayed with tear gas and hit with rubber bullets from peacefully protesting.

As I watched the people storm the Capitol, I saw the police help people down the steps, and even saw officers let people inside the building. Some officers were being chased by rioters who didn’t seem afraid, nor backed down from the authorities. I watched in horror as people walked all through the capital building, though offices, without fear or hesitation. I know for a fact that if those were people of color, there would be a different outcome, and more deaths. I felt as if I witnessed two different systems of justice. 

People of color, sometimes fear leaving the comfort of their homes, and have a fear or interaction with police officers, because of numerous cases of brutality and being killed. I can’t help but wonder why the national guard was not called in sooner to handle the situation, and bring order to it. And the part that upsets me the most, is that a sitting president is the cause of inciting this attack on democracy. 

To see that people are being arrested, it makes me feel hope in repairing our country. And as I grow older, I am hopeful for a brighter future for all people and people of color, and that is equality for all.