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Jan. 6 report highlights urgent need to end extremist mobilization and strengthen democracy

After nearly a year and a half of investigation, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection issued its final report.

The bipartisan committee’s report confirms what we at the Southern Poverty Law Center have long warned: Extremist groups have infused once fringe, white supremacist ideas into mainstream discourse with the goals of manipulating levers of democracy to maintain a grip on power and silence communities of color in the process.

To be clear, Jan. 6 was never meant to be the end goal. The deadly events of that day and the concerted efforts to overturn the 2020 election were part of a long path toward the insurrection that the SPLC has documented.

The SPLC previously released a timeline, “The Road to Jan. 6: A Year of Extremist Mobilization,” tracking the events that led to the insurrection, as well as a one-year analysis, “One Year After Jan. 6, the Hard Right Digs In,” exposing how the hard-right faction sought to undermine our democracy through white supremacist rhetoric and a flurry of anti-voter bills that disproportionately impact Black, Brown and Indigenous people.

A special episode of the SPLC’s podcast Sounds Like Hate also travels back to the months leading up to the insurrection.

Now, extremist groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys – and those who are ignoring or purposefully downplaying the implications of the attack on the Capitol – have their sights set on winning the 2024 election no matter the costs or bloodshed.

We commend the Jan. 6 committee, led by Chairman Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, for making the final report public and referring criminal charges for former President Donald Trump to the Justice Department.

Our leaders and courts must hold all the planners, perpetrators, funders and those who inspired the insurrection accountable – including Trump, his allies and other MAGA politicians who sought to uphold white supremacy and overturn the 2020 election. Our lawmakers and federal agencies must take action to root out extremism in the military and law enforcement, stop prolific online fundraising by hate groups and protect voting rights as well as a fair electoral process.

Together, as Americans, we must unite to reject extremism and adopt new, preventative approaches that promote inclusion, resilience and learning across communities to achieve justice for all.

Picture at top: The final report from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection confirms that extremist groups have infused white supremacist ideas into mainstream discourse in a concerted effort to silence communities of color. Pictured, the committee's final public meeting on Dec. 19, 2022. (Credit: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images)