Log in

Minnesota Public Health Association

Since 1907, MPHA has been dedicated to creating a healthier Minnesota through effective public health practice and engaged citizens. 

Statement on the January 6th U.S. Insurrection

February 10, 2021 9:14 AM | Anonymous

Access PDF of the statement here.

The Minnesota Public Health Association (MPHA) denounces the insurrection on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol. Insurrectionists and domestic terrorists’ action was a bid to stop the electoral college from certifying a new president and the peaceful transfer of power.

None of us will forget the abhorrent sight of insurrectionists scaling the walls and breaking windows of the U.S. Capitol, clutching symbols of hate and racism.1 This was yet another affront to people of color and American Indians in this country.2

As public health professionals, we condemn the 45th President and legislators who continuously endorsed and disseminated falsehoods and misinformation, and who worked to overturn the results of the Presidential election. The 45th President has sown doubt, mistrust and promoted voter suppression in the democratic process and the United States’ electoral process for years. This rampant dishonesty and division is especially concerning considering the evidence base connecting democracy and fair elections, and improved health.3 4 The link between democracy and public health must be founded in social justice to be successful.

Trust in government is crucial for compliance with health measures, which is particularly important during COVID-19 to ensure uptake of prevention measures.5 It is this same epidemic of distortion that has fueled the inferred spread of COVID-19, infecting over 26,523,297 and killing more than 454,209 Americans to date6 ––especially in communities of color and American Indians.7

The Capitol security response to the insurrection was in stark comparison to the police response to Black Lives Matter advocates across the country and contrary to Minnesota’s calling for an end to the police killings of Black people and systemic racism, a public health crisis in our country.8 The insurrectionists, who attempted to overthrow our legitimate government were predominately white, faced comparatively little resistance from police. They were able to breech and occupy the Capitol building easily—some carrying Confederate flags and anti-Semitism signage—despite the apparent danger they presented to everyone inside.

These actions, as well as the weak response that the insurrectionists received from police and capitol security, highlight the racial inequities that contribute to this significant public health crisis. As then President-elect Biden stated, “No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol. We all know that’s true, and it is unacceptable. Totally unacceptable.”9

The disgraceful and violent insurrection will no doubt stand as one of the darkest moments in American history—one that left five dead and shook the very foundation of our democracy. However, we celebrate democracy because it was also this day when the will of the voters ultimately prevailed.

Democracy is resilient but requires involvement and active participation by all citizens who cherish justice and equity for all. As the National Congress of American Indians has stated, “No nation should tolerate a leader who obstructs or brings harm to the peaceful democratic process and the citizens we are sworn to protect. We also understand that as leaders we have an obligation not only to our citizens today, but also to the future generations.”10

With fresh awareness of these challenges before us, we must commit to eternal vigilance, racial justice, inclusion and protecting the Voter Protection Act in our democracy. By acting together in community, we can make the world a healthier and more just place for all. As coined by the late senator from Minnesota, Paul Wellstone, we all do better when we all do better.11

  1. Capitol insurrection displayed many of the symbols of American racism. Accessed 02/09/2021.
  2. Insurrection Was A Product of Racism. Accessed 02/09/2021.
  3. The Lancet. “Relationships between democratic experience, adult health, and cause-specific mortality in 170 countries between 1980 and 2016: an observational analysis." Accessed 01/28/2021.
  4. BMJ Publishing Group. “Social Justice as a Foundation for Democracy and Health.” Accessed 01/28/2021.
  5. National Library of Medicine. “Public Health and Public Trust: Survey Evidence from the Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic in Liberia.” Accessed 01/28/2021.
  6. Centers for Disease Control. “COVID 19 Data Tracker”. Accessed 02/5/2021.
  7. U of M COVID-19 study finds greater impact on communities of color. Accessed 02/09/2021.
  8. U of M COVID-19 study finds greater impact on communities of color. Accessed 02/09/2021.
  9. Statement by President-elect Joe Biden. Accessed 01/17/2021.
  10. National Congress of American Indians Statement on U.S. Capitol Storming by Trump Supporters. Accessed 01/17/2021.
  11. Star Tribune. “We All Do Better When We All Do Better." Accessed 02/05/2021.

Search our website!

©️ 2024 Minnesota Public Health Association 

A registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software