FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7, 2021
Chicago, IL – AABA condemns yesterday’s assault on the United States Capitol during the process to certify the Electoral College votes. AABA calls upon President Trump and all other leaders to condemn this violence, denounce the assault as seditious criminal conduct, and to bring those responsible to justice to the full extent of the law.
The American people have voted. Both sides of the political divide have made their voices heard with a historic turnout of voters. Poll workers, election protection volunteers, local election staff, and municipality personnel across the political spectrum worked diligently to ensure a safe and trusted election cycle across the country. Claims of irregularities have been investigated. Audits and recounts have taken place. The states have certified the results. The Electoral College has voted. Courts have shot down legal challenge after legal challenge and have found nothing to undermine the notion that the 2020 election was free and fair. All lawful processes to reelect President Trump or to challenge the election results have been exhausted.
John Adams, one of our country’s founders and our second president, observed that “we must be a nation of laws and not of men.” We must heed this message and warning now. The words of President Trump and other leaders who seek to overturn a free and fair election are not the law. Words that pushed many to move beyond constitutionally protected peaceful protest to illegal acts of violence and destruction at one of our country’s most sacred spaces are not the law. President Trump is not the law and not above it. No president is. No person is.
We recognize that unjust laws have existed throughout our country’s history, which have contributed to the systemic oppression many Americans face today. We support efforts to change discriminatory laws as well as the right to protest to push for change. That is not what we witnessed yesterday. What we saw yesterday was violence set ablaze on a pyre of lies. We saw images of the siege on our Capitol by hundreds carrying Trump and confederate flags. We saw fear in the eyes of lawmakers trying to take shelter. We could imagine the smirk on the faces of the rioters who were taking selfies as they lounged in our representatives’ chairs. What we felt was a visceral desecration of our being as Americans.
“Seeing yesterday’s events at the U.S. Capitol unfold was painful. What those who stormed the Capitol did was criminal,” said AABA President Kristy Gonowon. “As members of the legal community, my colleagues and I have the privilege and duty to preserve and protect the rule of law. Thus, we condemn in the strongest terms these acts of violence. We ask our family, friends, neighbors, and fellow Americans to remember that, despite our differences, we must stand together as one nation, indivisible, committed to our shared belief in liberty and justice for all. We are a nation of laws and not of men. We must all do our part to ensure that it stays that way.”
AABA was founded on the belief that a professional bar association could serve not only the interests of its members, but also the community from which its members have come. Our mission includes promoting the professional growth of our members; mentoring law students and new lawyers, providing services to our local community; fostering the exchange of ideas and information among our members and community leaders; partnering with other minority organizations on common matters of concern; and offering policy recommendations on legal, social, political, and economic interests significant to our community.