Ahead of tomorrow, we remain hopeful

As we prepare for tomorrow’s inauguration, AVP is inspired and hopeful for a shift towards healing, justice, and accountability for our nation. We are optimistic about the intentions of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to repair many of the harms President Trump inflicted on the most marginalized in our communities. In his first ten days in office, President-elect Biden has already committed to begin addressing the multiple crises of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic crisis, climate change, and issues of racial equity.

The Biden Administration is poised to make history, not only by electing the first Black and Indian woman Vice President and assembling the most diverse team of appointees and nominees ever, but by pushing forward bold initiatives needed to address the epidemic of violence that grips our country.

Biden and Harris are taking office two weeks after right-wing extremists and white supremacists took over the Capitol building threatening members of Congress and attempting to halt and overturn the certification of electoral votes. This attack was the inevitable outcome of four years of hate-mongering, conspiracy theorizing, and incitement to violence led by President Trump, fueled by many Republican members of Congress, and carried out by white supremacist terrorist groups. The administration’s first actions must include steps to hold all of the actors in the Capitol attack accountable including rooting out and disarming the white supremacist groups that mobilized thousands to descend on Washington and continue to threaten the core of our very democracy.

At the same time, we must acknowledge that our criminal legal system causes harm to Black and brown people and commit to finding new solutions for accountability that do not rely on inflicting additional violence and harm. The stark differences between the police responses to Black Lives Matter protests this summer and the Capitol insurrectionists have provided once again, clear proof of the two systems of injustice in the United States. On June 1, DC police arrested 316 people associated with the BLM protests in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, compared to just 61 arrested during the Capitol riot on January 6. Those most harmed by violence are also most harmed by our systems of punishment.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, have a difficult job ahead. They must tackle the enormous challenges we currently face in a highly volatile and polarized society. On Wednesday they will hit the ground running and at AVP, we are excited to share our vision for a just future with the new administration. In the coming weeks, AVP will share more of our national policy priorities which include: equitable COVID relief, funding for survivor services, hate violence prevention, divestment from police and investment in community services, support for immigrant survivors, and safety for sex workers and survivors of trafficking.

Even with a friendly administration, the work ahead to address and end violence will be difficult and long. Threats from the alt-right will continue and may rise. Attacks on our community will not end overnight. We will not agree with every step this administration takes. There will be setbacks. But the way forward is clearer and our resolve is strong. We hope you join us tomorrow in celebrating the possibilities of the Bidden/Harris administration and continuing to shape a world in which we can all be safe and free. In the words of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”

In peace and solidarity,

Beverly Tillery