We danced, and we sang, and we continue to fight for our liberation from a white supremacist government.
Police brutality, President Donald Trump, Mayor Lyda Krewson, Sen. Josh Hawley and countless others. At a bird’s eye view, protesting is about vocalizing our anger and disrupting the “average, daily life” to ensure we are heard. But at the heart of it, it’s about strengthening and fighting for our community when the oppressors continue to work within white supremacist structures to disconnect us from our safety, our human rights, our needs.
Hawley is among the several Republicans who negate the credibility and legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. Feeling as though the election was “rigged” or “stolen,” this is the violence that incited the white supremacist terrorist attack at the Capitol, on Jan. 6. Hawley was caught raising his fist to the rioters at the Capitol, just hours before it was stormed.
ResistSTL held a protest the following weekend. When I arrived at the protest site in front of the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, I saw hundreds of people carrying signs with his photo plastered upon the cardboard. People were working together to lay tape on the city road, outlining the words “Resign Hawley” to soon be painted in as protest organizers began chanting “Resign Hawley,”and “You don’t even live here!”
Being at a protest condemning white supremacy during a pandemic, it was visible that some folks didn’t feel comfortable. I felt a lot at this protest: disgust and anger at the reality of our government, grief for the lives taken from white supremacist hate crimes and joy that I found myself dancing among my community. The United States government continually fails us, yet the system is working just as it was created to. We protest to demand safety for those in our community, specifically Black folks, who are endlessly disadvantaged by the power structures in the United States.
We protest to show “powerful” figures that we will not remain complicit or ignorant to their abhorrent and bigoted actions. As time passed, and more community leaders began to speak to the crowd, we all slowly started moving closer together and speaking with one another. Passion rang through the community’s voice, whether it was from demanding Hawley’s resignation or singing along to the music blaring in front of the Old Courthouse.
Maxi Glamour, an STL based non-binary artist and community organizer, spoke words of liberation into us; reiterating that this is what community looks like. We danced, and we sang, and we continue to fight for our liberation from a white supremacist government.
As people continued to walk around the front of the Old Courthouse with their signs, other community members were working together to paint in the outlined letters. Soon after, we stripped the tape off the pavement to reveal our collective efforts – a message Hawley cannot miss – “Resign Hawley.” Though it is largely ingrained within the United States’ government and culture, white supremacy has no space in any government. It has no space in our lives, in our loved ones, in our well-being. The utmost danger in our society is white supremacy and those who uphold it.
Hawley does not represent St. Louis – primarily because he doesn’t even live here, and because he does not care for the citizens he claims to represent. The first step to healing is accountability, and Hawley must recognize his terrorist-inciting actions have consequences. We will continue to dance upon the grave of Hawley’s career until it is actualized – RESIGN HAWLEY.