More information on the racist attack on L!VE Cafe yesterday. I want to call out that this is not only a racist attack, though that would be terrible and terrifying enough — given the text, “no [n-words] on the ballot,” this is clearly an attack on democracy itself.
It is a response to the work Stacy Abrams has done in Georgia, winning Democrats the Senate last night. It’s a response to Obama’s election to the presidency, which white supremacists still do not acknowledge as legitimate. It’s a response to Biden winning this presidential election with Kamala Harris, a Black & Indian woman, as his vice president — Harris will now be the tie-breaker in the Senate. It’s a response to the American people summarily dismissing in this election those who championed the politics of hate four years ago.
Locally, it’s also a response to a strong coalition of activists (see the campaign Represent Oak Park, and the Facebook group, Activate Oak Park) putting together a diverse set of candidates to run for local offices, including three Black candidates for Village Trustee — Chibuike Enyia, Juanta Griffin, and Anthony Clark. We’ve also seen targeted attacks against Enyia and Clark in the form of petition challenges in the last few weeks, challenges which spread slanderous and untrue allegations about the candidates’ character and personal history.
This is a clear pattern of explicitly white supremacist violence. While I am not surprised to see it, in the wake of last night’s election results, I am tremendously saddened that even in Oak Park, which I have found to be welcoming and supportive of my own mixed-race family for the past ten years, we are still seeing such vicious violence against Black candidates daring to seek to serve in our government.
On a morning when I woke up to realize that Stacy Abrams, with her untiring and astonishing efforts in Georgia, may well have saved not just America but the world, this is a sobering reminder. Even if the white supremacists are dinosaurs whose time on this Earth is passing, they can do a tremendous amount of damage in their thrashing as they fall.
It is on us, all of us who may have some measure of privilege that shelters us from such direct assaults, to stand forward and as best we can, shield those Black citizens who are bearing the brunt of the attack, as they have in America for hundreds of years. I will be at the vigil tomorrow night; locals, I hope you can join us.
Reesheda Graham Washington, you have done so much good for this community with L!ve Cafe and all of your other work towards supporting conversations around racial equity and growth. I have, personally, learned so much from just a few hours of racial equity training you did with us as library board members.
We’re with you.