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Heartbroken, But Raising Our Voice: CAS Reacts To The U.S. Capitol Mob

Like so many of you, we are reeling from yesterday’s events, when an overlapping mob of Trump loyalists, fascists, white supremacists, and QAnon conspiracy theorists coalesced on the U.S. Capitol and took over the building. It’s hard to put our reaction into words, but we have a responsibility to raise up our voices for justice.

When we spoke out in support of Black Lives Matter this summer, many of you said you agreed. Some of our supporters left. Some scolded us for not “staying in our lane” and keeping our conversation exclusively about animals. We want to take this moment in history to reflect, but more importantly to say unequivocally that condemning white supremacy and fascism is an imperative part of our fight for justice for all beings. It is our lane. And we hope it is your lane too. It’s our shared obligation to name injustice when we see it, and to condemn it plainly. 

As Richie Bowie, Senior Editor of VegNews, so beautifully put it: 

“Veganism is inherently and inexorably political — it always has been and always will be. Animal liberation can’t happen without political change and it can’t happen independent of liberation for all humans, either.”

What happened yesterday in DC is not “normal,” in the sense that it was (or should be) shocking. Yet the rhetoric that drove it was utterly normalized, almost rendered banal, and not just by Donald Trump but also by his enablers; those who fail to strongly condemn white supremacy are sanctioning it. In the words of Elie Wiesel: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” 

If you are unconvinced that white supremacy and fascism are alive and well, we urge you to look to the terrorists themselves: they hung a noose outside the Capitol, they wore shirts celebrating the Holocaust, they waved confederate flags. They declared that this was their agenda. If you require proof that these ideologies are endemic in our institutions, look no further than the GOP members who echoed Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. Look no further than the police standing by to allow a mob, some who appeared armed and prepared to take hostages, into the nation’s Capitol, where they vandalized government property, accessed confidential documents, and terrified the elected officials and staff trapped inside. A police officer took a selfie with one of the horde. Compare this to the treatment of Black Lives Matter protestors this summer and to the treatment of Indigenous water protectors at Standing Rock in 2016 — they were brutalized by police using excessive force. These things are difficult to look at. But it is incumbent upon us to look — and to act.

What can we do in the face of this?

We can defy this rhetoric. White supremacy didn’t appear from nowhere, nor does it originate with Donald Trump — though to be abundantly clear: The sitting President of the United States incited his followers to riot. This is an attempted coup. This is not an ideology that can be defied simply with “positivity” and “niceness.” That idea prioritizes the temporary comfort of privileged people over the safety and liberty of marginalized people. This means uncomfortable conversations. It may mean challenging those whom we love. If you are white, it means examining how you benefit from white privilege.

What else can we do? We can contact our Congressional representatives to demand that they respond to the attempted coup and the false claims of election fraud. We can require them to hold their colleagues and Donald Trump accountable.

We can elevate the voices of Black and Indigenous activists, many of whom have been warning for years about the increased vitriol among white supremacists who feel legitimized by Donald Trump. Follow and learn from Angela Davis, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometti, Alicia Garza, Seedling Sovereignty, Bree Newsome Bass, Cori Bush, Ibram Kendi, Zellie Imani, Nikki La’es, The Lakota People’s Law Project (please send us others!) 

If you’ve been with us on this journey so far, you know that animal rescue and vegan advocacy comes with enormous pain, loss, and frustration. This is not for the faint of heart. We are not on this earth to merely wish for a better world for all beings: we are here to do the hard work. As we concluded 2020, we wrote a letter to many of you, in which we quoted Alice Walker: “The only way forward is with a broken heart.” Today the broken heart — the pain, the frustration, the fear — must be what continues to propel us forward. 

We don’t know what the future — or even the next few weeks — will bring. But we know that we’ll stand side by side with you, as we have for the last twenty years, as we will for the years to come.

Love Spoken Here.



Love Spoken Here


9 replies on “Heartbroken, But Raising Our Voice: CAS Reacts To The U.S. Capitol Mob”

  1. Thank you for speaking out. You are so right. If we keep quiet before long it will be us they’re coming for.

    1. Hi Linda, thank you for the support — it’s also important that we speak out even when we might not be the ones directly harmed. It’s our shared obligation to protect others, even when we are safe ourselves. Thank you again! — The CAS Team

  2. Thank you for this important piece. Catskill Animal Sanctuary can count on my support always

  3. I hope you are enjoying President Biden and his “kids in cages” at the border and domestic terrorists burning down inner cities with “peaceful protests.” You speak from one side of your mind. The divide and conquer mentality, that side, making you as guilty as those you condemn. Your day of wakening and reckoning is coming. Saving the children and fighting tryanny of all sorts in our Constitutional Republic is what we are fighting, while you fight against us because the media told you what to think. May you find peace, not everyone is your enemy to rail against.

    1. Family separation at the border is abhorrent to us, regardless of which administration supervises it. In the meantime we will continue to condemn the fascist attack on the US Capitol, as well as fascism in all its forms. It’s a false equivalence to say that speaking against racism, antisemitism, and fascism makes us “as guilty.” We would actually be guilty if we stood by and did nothing. And we refuse to do that.

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