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COMMENTARY: Based on My Reading of Ethnic History, Jan. 6 ‘Insurrectionists’ Unworthy of Name

Maybe if all those subpoenaed comply, Congress will get to the bottom of what happened that day — that some Republicans loyal to an ex-president who lost the November election were considering a coup. Now there’s a word that doesn’t belong in American democracy.

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Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. Listen to his show on Facebook on EmilGuillermo.Media. Or on www.amok.com.
Emil Guillermo is a veteran Bay Area journalist and commentator. See more at www.amok.com Twitter @emilamok

By Emil Guillermo

It’s been a year since the Jan. 6th Capitol Riots of 2021. Please don’t call the perps “insurrectionists.”

Call them what they are.

Lawless, unprincipled rioters. Right-wing political looters. Deluded Trump supporters.

Insurrectionists take down authoritarians like Trump in the name of democracy. They don’t put authoritarians in. They usually take them out. Insurrectionists are serious people, not armed lunatics lured by the smell of burnt gunpowder and the sound of broken glass.

But the Jan. 6, 2021 rioters were anti-democracy which disqualifies them from the “I” word.

So, leave the term “insurrectionist” for the history most people don’t even know. It’s the Filipinos, who, after the Spanish American War, stood up to the American imperialists and established a new Philippine republic, said to be the first democracy in Asia. It was so significant that the revolt became known as the Philippine American War.

By that standard, the Jan. 6th rioters just don’t measure up.

Maybe if all those subpoenaed comply, Congress will get to the bottom of what happened that day — that some Republicans loyal to an ex-president who lost the November election were considering a coup. Now there’s a word that doesn’t belong in American democracy.

And to appreciate it all, it was handy to know a little Filipino American ethnic history.

New Laws for Ethnic History in California

You may have known it if you were taught much about the Philippine American War in high school. Or maybe community college. As of Jan. 1, the framework is in place to make it required in community colleges by 2024, taught at high schools by 2025, and a graduation requirement by 2029.

That still gives seven years for ignorance to fester, but that’s the law.

It’s all too late for one former Skyline grad, Eleanor Wikstrom, who two years ago went east to Harvard.

There she discovered her Filipino-ness. She wanted to know why her mother’s language, Tagalog, wasn’t taught there. There’s no good answer.

Good to see things haven’t changed much from when I was there nearly 50 years ago.

This year, Wikstrom wanted to learn more about what happened after the Philippine American War when the U.S. colonial period began. Simply, they re-educated the Filipinos, seen as illiterate savages or as infantile and unfit for self-rule. So, they taught them all English. The person in charge of education was Fred W. Atkinson. A Harvard man.

That was an emotional moment for Wikstrom, who, like many Filipino Americans, understand colonialism is in our historical DNA. But then to discover it in the library how Harvard had a role in the “racialized subjugation” took an emotional toll.

In an essay for the Harvard Crimson she wrote, “Of the jagged wound that is U.S. colonization in the Philippines, a gun is smoking in Harvard’s hands.”

She also realized it was a history buried so deep in the archives that it’s a history no one really wants anyone to know or see.

But as I mentioned to her in my podcast conversation (“Emil Amok’s Takeout, Show 104 on Spotify, Apple, etc) once you see it, you can’t “unsee it.”

Of course, who knows if this bit of American Filipino history will be part of the state’s new curriculum. But it does show the value of new laws requiring some exposure to ethnic history.

This isn’t critical race theory, mind you. It’s just history — the things that are hidden in the past but can begin to explain the present.

History can do that. But only if we take the time and responsibility to learn from it.

Emil Guillermo is a veteran Bay Area journalist and commentator. See more at www.amok.com Twitter @emilamok

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Activism

Friendship Christian Center Provides Tests, Vaccines to Thousands

FCCC has served thousands with lines forming an hour-and-a-half before opening to get tested and vaccinated with one of the three vaccines, boosters, and vaccines for children. Agee said it has been going at this pace for over a month, with the new Omicron variant surging.

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A lone forms outside the Friendship Christian Center on a recent, rainy cold day in Oakland. Photo courtesy of FCCC.
A lone forms outside the Friendship Christian Center on a recent, rainy cold day in Oakland. Photo courtesy of FCCC.

Friendship Christian Center Church (FCCC), pastored by Dr. Gerald Agee, is located at 1904 Adeline St. and is one of the dozens of Black churches across the state of California, who, in conjunction with the California Health Agencies and California Black Media, has stood on the front line, with the Black Press for over a year providing COVID-19 testing and vaccinations to minority communities.

FCCC has served thousands with lines forming an hour-and-a-half before opening to get tested and vaccinated with one of the three vaccines, boosters, and vaccines for children. Agee said it has been going at this pace for over a month, with the new Omicron variant surging.

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Activism

COMMENTARY: After Jan. 6, An MLK Day Deadline for Voting Rights and Democracy

This is a dangerous thing that goes beyond mere policy matters. First the Cruzes fall in line. Then the people. Republicans are not shy about what’s next. They want to own our democracy. And they’re willing to get it by going state by state to limit our voting rights and take away our votes.

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Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. Listen to his show on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter @emilamok at 2pm Pacific M-F. Or on www.amok.com
Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. Listen to his show on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter @emilamok at 2pm Pacific M-F. Or on www.amok.com

By Emil Guillermo

We all know the images of Jan. 6, 2021. Lawless rioters ransacking the Capitol. Police being tortured and beaten. Members of Congress hiding in fear in the House gallery. The gallows and a noose meant for former Vice President Mike Pence.

We all saw the video images one year after and astonishingly they did nothing to pull our nation together.

Nothing.

They simply confirmed the only thing everyone can agree on.

Our democracy’s in trouble. Real trouble.

We already sensed that after the Civil Rights battles of the 1960s such things as race, policing, and income inequality are still major issues in 2022.

But we’ve got trouble in a different key.

C Major. No sharps or flats. This trouble goes right to the core of our democracy. They’re coming after your vote.

That is, after all, what the Jan. 6 rioters were attempting when they tried to stop the certification of the election.

But now the GOP politicians who may have been behind the Jan. 6 rioters all along, are going legit.

The majority of Republicans, notably California’s Kevin McCarthy, continue to sing the fictional tune “The 2016 Election Was Stolen.”

As if in a song battle, the Democrats counter with the loud truth, “The Election Was Fair. Trump Lost.”

But enough people keep singing the lie as if it’s their battle hymn.

And now they are looking for the ultimate control of any election. Legally. In plain view.

Republicans are taking over or running for top election official posts in key states. State legislatures are proposing laws to limit absentee ballots, mail-in voting and other conveniences. They are putting up obstacles to make voting harder with the hopes of suppressing your vote.

This is why Biden spoke in Georgia this week, saying “I will not yield, I will not flinch in protecting voting rights.”

Let’s hope he’s serious, starting with new voting rights legislation to make election days federal holidays and require federal approval of any state and local election changes.

It may take changing the filibuster law to make sure Republicans can’t block any Democratic reforms, but it must be done. And done now.

That’s why even the family of Martin Luther King Jr. is calling for “no celebration” of MLK Day without the passage of voting rights legislation.

This is how Democrats are talking to Biden.

The Republicans’ post-Jan.6 strategy is simply Orwellian. Where truth and lies are indistinguishable. And Republicans loyal to Trump are dead set on forcing their lies on everyone.

Witness Sen. Ted Cruz last week caught in a moment of truth calling the Jan. 6 rioters “domestic terrorists.” But how quickly he recanted when called on the carpet by Fox’s Tucker Carlson, the Trump Confessor, for all the Republican congregants to see.

Like a loyal Trumper, Cruz knelt, confessed, and did his penance.

It used to be called hypocrisy. Now it’s just called Modern Day Republicanism.

This is a dangerous thing that goes beyond mere policy matters. First the Cruzes fall in line. Then the people. Republicans are not shy about what’s next. They want to own our democracy. And they’re willing to get it by going state by state to limit our voting rights and take away our votes.

That’s even worse than the Jan. 6 rioters’ wildest dreams.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. Listen to his show on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter @emilamok at 2pm Pacific M-F. Or on www.amok.com

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Activism

El Cerrito Hosts 33rd Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and Rally

The celebration is sponsored by its founders, St. Peter CME Church and the El Cerrito Branch of the NAACP, as well as the Human Relations Commission, and the West Contra Costa County Unified School District.

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“Keeping the Dream Alive - Embracing Our New Normals with Faith, Family, and Community,” is the theme for this year’s celebration.
“Keeping the Dream Alive - Embracing Our New Normals with Faith, Family, and Community,” is the theme for this year’s celebration.

By Clifford L. Williams

The City of El Cerrito invites all of its residents and surrounding cities in the Bay Area to join in its 33rd Annual Community Celebration honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.

“Keeping the Dream Alive – Embracing Our New Normals with Faith, Family, and Community,” is the theme for this year’s celebration.

The celebration is sponsored by its founders, St. Peter CME Church and the El Cerrito Branch of the NAACP, as well as the Human Relations Commission, and the West Contra Costa County Unified School District.

Event chairperson, Patricia Durham said “this peaceful protest began in 1989 on the back streets of El Cerrito because of the City’s refusal to acknowledge King’s birthday as a federal holiday.

“Members of St. Peter Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME), the City’s only African-American church, and the El Cerrito Branch of the NAACP, in true Dr. King style, took to the streets. The City eventually came around and acknowledged the peaceful and powerful works of Dr. King.”

Durham added, “El Cerrito’s birthday celebration of MLK is one of the longest-standing parades and rallies in the Bay Area.”

Because of the global pandemic, this is the second year the city will have a car parade because of COVID-19 protocols. Participants will meet at 9 a.m. at the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station (in the parking lot of Key Boulevard & Knott Avenue). At 10 a.m., the parade will caravan down San Pablo Avenue to the El Cerrito Plaza BART station and at 11 a.m., the rally will begin. To ensure everyone enjoys the parade safely, all CDC guidelines will be enforced. Masks and social distancing are required.

“Keeping the dream alive even during a pandemic is a necessity,” said Durham. “We are fighting for our democracy and if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s taught us that we need each other to embrace our new normals of survival.”

“The City is expecting more than 100 cars, so we encourage everyone to decorate your vehicles so that yours stands out the best,” noted Durham. “Entertainment will be provided by the Japanese American Citizen League, The Black Cowboy Association, Ujima Lodge #35, the Mardi Gras Gumbo Band, Mighty High Drill Team, Smooth Illusions Band, and El Cerrito’s Poet Laureate, Ms. Eevelyn Janean Mitchell, among other talents.”

The MC of this illustrious event will be Jeffery Wright, president of the El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce. The event’s keynote speaker is Diana Becton, the first female African American to be elected District Attorney in the history of Contra Costa County.

For more information, contact Patricia Durham at (510) 234-2518.

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