SPLC’s PRESIDENT AND CEO MARGARET HUANG’S REFLECTIONS ON THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF VIOLENT INSURRECTION:
Much work lies ahead to strengthen democracy and erect firm guardrails
to ensure this never happens again
MONTGOMERY, AL – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) President and CEO Margaret Huang issued the following statement on the first anniversary of the deadly January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol to overturn the nation’s election results.
“After a year of widespread coverage of the attack on the nation’s capital by far-right insurrectionists, the danger to our democracy remains. Much work lies ahead to strengthen our democratic institutions and erect firm guardrails to ensure such an event never happens again. The SPLC remains focused on combating these dangers, including the hard-right faction’s efforts to push the former president’s once fringe, white supremacist ideas into mainstream discourse.
“Although we were horrified, we were not surprised by the appalling and deadly events of the day. Our dedicated SPLC analysts had been sounding the alarm well before January 6, warning of increased violent rhetoric and on-the-ground mobilization of far-right extremists. These SPLC experts also issued a loud clarion call about the antigovernment and hate groups openly organizing and strategizing online. Many extremists were emboldened by the former president who supported and encouraged the GOP —along with radicalized individuals and groups—to buy into conspiracy theories about a ‘stolen election.’
“If we are to turn the page on this troubling stain of America’s history and heal the nation’s deep wounds, we must unite to reject hate and extremism, refuse racism and white supremacy, and hold accountable those who supported the insurrection.
“While great strides have been made by those working to counter white supremacy in their communities and beyond, much more must be done to prevent the ongoing threats to our democracy. Our lawmakers must take urgent action to support the work of the House Select Committee; more fully address extremism in the military; tackle the role technology and social media companies play in perpetuating hate and disinformation; and invest in prevention programs to stop the radicalization of our citizens. It is also essential that Congress overcome the current gridlock to enact legislation - John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and Freedom to Vote Act - that will stop the growing onslaught of anti-voter measures in states across the country, and especially in the South. It is through these steps that we will start to meet the full promise of our democracy.”
The SPLC has just released a timeline that tracks the Year of Extremist Mobilization that led to the January 6th insurrection along with a new analysis, “One Year After Jan. 6, the Hard Right Digs In," that exposes how the hard right faction has infused once fringe, white supremacist ideas into mainstream discourse and sought to undermine our democracy through rhetoric and a flurry of voter suppression bills that disproportionately impact Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. A special episode of SPLC’s podcast, Sounds Like Hate, also travels back to the months leading up to the insurrection.