In June of last year, after the killing of George Floyd and among the global protests that sought to confront the legacies of white supremacy, individuals gathered along First Street in the city of Snohomish with the claim that they would protect local businesses from any “potential threats.” (This was despite the fact that more than 93 percent of protests across the United States had been peaceful. However, the belief that there may be an eruption of violence more than 30 miles north of the nearest major city persisted.)
Individuals wore bulletproof vests with assault rifles draped across their chests and, in the midst of a pandemic, face coverings were few and far between. The Confederate flag, the symbol of the vanquished losers of the American Civil War, was visible. This was an example not of mere white privilege but of outright white supremacy. This show of white supremacy, while remaining physically non-violent, did not occur in our nation’s capital but in our own backyard; reported not by national news organizations on loop but by shocked local citizens on social media.
If we are to confront the legacies of white supremacy in this nation then we must begin the process in our local communities. The mob of rioters who stormed the Capitol building were not individuals who make up a small minority political faction in some far-off place. Rather, these were individuals who have served in our nation’s military, local law enforcement, and various private sectors.
It is time for the residents of Snohomish County to come toe-to-toe with the legacies and current manifestations of white supremacy that have, and continue to, plague our nation. This begins with rejecting the lies and behavior of Donald J. Trump and those in the Republican Party who have brought our democracy to the brink of its fall.