Michelle Obama calls out ‘gulf’ in differing responses to BLM and Capitol riot: ‘I hurt for our country’

‘My heart had fallen harder and faster than I can remember,’ former First Lady says

Rachel Brodsky
Los Angeles
Thursday 07 January 2021 22:20 GMT
Michelle Obama on the Capitol Hill protests: ‘I hurt for our country’.
Michelle Obama on the Capitol Hill protests: ‘I hurt for our country’. (DNC via Getty Images)

Michelle Obama has shared a statement in response to Wednesday’s pro-Trump riots held that resulted in violent mobs breaking into the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, and left four people dead.

"Like all of you, I’ve been feeling so many emotions since yesterday. I tried to put my thoughts down here," the former First Lady wrote on Twitter.

She began her statement saying that she'd woken up on 6 January feeling "elated" by the news of Reverend Raphael Warnock's Senate victory in Georgia after the state's runoff elections.

"In just a few hours, though, my heart had fallen harder and faster than I can remember," she said, referring to the hoards of right-wing protesters who forced the Capitol Building into a sudden lockdown.

Obama centered her statement around the muted response from law enforcement – a stark contrast to the violent pushback from police forces during last summer's largely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests.

"This summer's Black Lives Matter protests were an overwhelmingly peaceful movement – our nation's largest demonstrations ever, bringing together people of every race and class and encouraging millions to re-examine their own assumptions and behavior," she said. "And yet, in city after city, we saw peaceful protesters met with brute force. We saw cracked skulls and mass arrests, law enforcement pepper spraying its way through a peaceful demonstration for a presidential photo op."

Further down, Obama called out the "gulf between the responses to yesterday's riot and this summer's peaceful protests".

"I cannot think about moving on or turning the page until we reckon with the reality of what we saw yesterday," she continued. "True progress will be possible only once we acknowledge that this disconnect exists and take steps to repair it."

Closing out her note, Obama had words of gratitude for Reverend Warnock, President-elect Joe Biden, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who will have "the chance to lead us in a better direction".

Moving forward, she concluded, will "be an uncomfortable, sometimes painful process. But if we enter into it with an honest and unwavering love of our country, then maybe we can finally start to heal." 

Read More: What if the DC rioters had been Black? I think we know the answer


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