Heather Cox Richardson | Letters from an American | March 17
Today the House of Representatives approved awarding Congressional Gold Medals to members of the Capitol Police for their defense of the Capitol on January 6. Four hundred and thirteen members voted in favor, and 12 Republicans opposed the measure. A number of party members took offense at the language in the bill, which referred to the Capitol as “the temple of our American Democracy” and called the rioters “a mob of insurrectionists.”
Part of their objection comes from their eagerness to downplay what happened on January 6 and to redefine it as a much less important event than it was.
Last week, six top Republican senators expressed dismay to the acting chief of the Capitol Police, Yogananda Pittman, over the continued presence of nearly 2300 National Guardsmen and a fence topped with razor wire around the Capitol. While security experts are concerned about ongoing threats, especially around the time of Biden’s expected address to a joint session of Congress, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says the security is “overdone.” In a letter to Pittman, the five say it is “entirely unclear” why the fencing remains. They say it “sends a terrible message to American citizens, as well as to our allies and adversaries.”
The fencing reminds Americans of what happened on January 6 and the Republicans’ complicity in that attack, refusing, as they did, to hold Trump accountable for inciting the insurrection. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) did not sign the letter to Pittman, but he told a right-wing talk radio host that he was not frightened by the rioters on January 6 because they were “people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law.” In contrast, though, he said he would have been worried if the rioters were “Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters.”
We spotlight some of the most exciting Black-led creative projects happening in Scotland and further abroad, including the Black Lives Matter mural and Fringe of Colour, and ways you can help out.
Another week, another article – we could get used to this! This week, we’re spotlighting some incredible projects by Black creatives in Scotland and further afield (dare we say…England?), as well as highlighting some causes open for donations. The conversation surrounding Black Lives Matter has definitely dwindled in some circles, but we believe anti-racism requires not only long-term commitment, but also active participation – seeking out names, projects, and stories mainstream white culture might otherwise not expose you to.
To that end, we’ve lined up some of the most exciting work happening in this strange year. Black Lives Matter murals are popping up in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness thanks to a new trail produced by Wezi Mhura. Fringe of Colour, which made huge waves during last year’s Fringe season, is back with its own online arts festival. And we have a whole bunch of books and films we’ve been obsessively reading and watching that we’d love to share with you, too. Read, share, donate – let’s keep the conversation going.
Founded by two University of Edinburgh students, Rianna Walcott and Toby Sharpe, Project Myopia is a call to diversify university curricula through articles, artwork, and video essays that explore texts traditionally left out of the canon. They accept submissions year round, or you can donate here. Image: Susie Purvis. Continue reading →
George Mpanga, better known as George the Poet, is a 29-year-old British spoken word artist. His new podcast is a genre-defying mix of music, poetry, storytelling, and personal narrative. We talk to him about his art, his push for social change and this moment now.
As nationwide protests over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are met with police brutality, John Oliver discusses how the histories of policing and white supremacy are intertwined, the roadblocks to fixing things, and some potential paths forward.