Rain or shine — or snow, or pandemic — Samantha Bee is still out here doing pithy interview segments on current events. On Wednesday night’s episode of Full Frontal, Bee traveled to a freezing cold field to have a safe, socially distanced chat with activists to get their thoughts on what happened at the pro-Trump insurrection at the Capitol in January.
Overall, as Bee noted, there was a great discrepancy between how the violent pro-Trump insurrectionists were treated by police versus peaceful protesters.
The activists included New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who has been arrested several times during protests, most recently while protesting against unjust deportation of immigrants. Williams is black and diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, and he suspects that both his race and his motor tics due to his disability have contributed to his arrests.
“The scariest arrest I’ve been in was protecting someone from getting deported,” he told Bee. “We were thrown around like rag dolls.”
Bee also spoke with Stephanie Woodward, an organizer for the grassroots disability group ADAPT and a co-founder of Disability EmpowHer Network. At a 2017 protest against the gutting of Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act at the Russell Senate Office Building, five police officers lifted Woodward out of her wheelchair and placed her on the ground outside the building, where she was unable to move. The police then continued to use Woodward’s wheelchair “like a dolly” to transport other disability activists out of the building.
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Finally, via television screen, Bee spoke with Sisters Joann Persch and Pat Murphy, co-founders of Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants. The elderly nuns described the experience of getting roughly arrested at a protest; officers refused to cuff the nuns’ hands in front of their bodies despite their multiple requests that they do so.
“What happened on January 6th was a mob, not civil disobedience,” Persch said, to which Murphy added, “Civil disobedience is civilians who are protesting something that is very wrong.”
“If you’re pushing to uphold the systems of supremacy and privilege,” Williams concluded gravely, “you’ll be given the guided tour. People keep saying, ‘What we saw on the Capitol is un-American,’ but the most American thing you can do is try to uphold white supremacy. It’s actually just as American as apple pie.”
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