On January 7, we woke to the news that anarchy had erupted inside Washington's Capitol building. A mob of angry Trump supporters had invaded the premises – inciting and displaying acts of violence in an attempt to disrupt Congress's counting of electoral votes. A coup instigated by a presidency built on the backbone of white supremacy, we watched from afar as the events unfolded.
Although the incident itself may be geographically distant, the underlying issues of systemic racism and abuse of power feel close to home. Understandably, you might feel enraged by the blatant acts of violence and fascism on display – but it's what you do next that ultimately matters. Here's how you can take action following the Washington Capitol riots.
Sign petitions you believe in and support
Do not underestimate the value of petitions in inciting change; but do be mindful of the petitions you are signing. Before you virtually sign, be sure to do some research on the cause that is being advocated. By completing necessary fact-checking and understanding the fine print, you can know for certain if this is the type of change you want to be associated with.
Don't stop educating yourself on anti-racism
Taking a vocal and physical stance against racist and violent acts is definitely a necessary step in the right direction. However, it doesn't discredit the importance of continuing to educate ourselves on how to be better allies. We should continue to read, watch and listen to material by BIPOC, particularly that which focuses on anti-racism. It's critical to remember that in order to see change, we must do, and continue to do, the work ourselves.
Donate to and support Black Lives Matter
One of the most direct ways you can take action following the Washington Capitol coup is by donating and supporting Black Lives Matter. Of the chaos and violence that erupted yesterday, the stark contrast between the treatment of conservative rioters and peaceful protesters of the BLM movement was abundantly clear. With many communities and individuals facing prosecution for their decision to march in condemnation of police brutality, organisations such as Movement for Black Lives, NAACP, and the Bail Project are continuing to do all they can.
To support anti-racism organisations fighting for equity in Australia, look to, ANTaR, Indigenous Social Justice Association, Anti Colonial Asian Alliance, and Usyd Autonomous Collective Against Racism.
Make the switch to businesses that are anti-racist
Although this type of change isn't always instantaneous, it's important to be aware of the work, or lack thereof, your favourite companies and retailers are doing to condemn white supremacy and support BLM. By doing some research, you'll be able to make a better judgement about which businesses you continue to support.
Call out white supremacy in your own life
While it's vital to continue educating ourselves on anti-racism, it's equally as important to keep those around us accountable for their actions. In order to move forward and see real change, we need to open a dialogue with the people closest to us and be unafraid to call them out when they display racist tendencies.
It's the covert acts of racism – comments at dinner tables, the circulation of vile text messages and imagery – that has sustained this type of discrimination.
For more information on ways to become a better ally, look to Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein's anti-racism resource document where you'll find countless organisations to follow and donate to, books, articles, TV shows and more to put your time towards.
Support the FBI
One major hope of achieving justice in the wake of the Capitol riots lies in identifying the individuals who took part. As reported by The Washington Post, D.C police have arrested 69 people from at least 20 different states, and now the FBI is seeking assistance in identifying the other participants. If you have particularly advanced skills in internet sleuthing or happen to recognise any of the people who partook in the violence, you should submit your tips and information here.