Defender Associate Editor, Aswad Walker


For many, the Jan. 6 insurrection/coup hearings haven’t revealed anything we didn’t already know. Sure, there’s new video and testimonies from Trumpites calling their boss a criminal. But we already knew that. And we may not have known Trump’s “Stop the Steal” org took in $250 million the week after the 2020 election, but it didn’t surprise anyone that none of that quarter billion went to “stop” the non-existent “steal.” And, I’m certain these hearings will reveal the insurrection money trail, uncovering the billionaire CEOs who funded the overthrow of U.S. democracy; and the Republican lawmakers who had roles in the crime.

But, it’s not like we didn’t know white supremacy existed in “high” places. However, what we don’t know is whether these hearings will reveal to the world “what is” or “what can be.” What is: A two-tier justice system where Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, etc. experienced the justice system as judge, jury and executioner all in a matter of minutes, though guilty of no crime; while powerful whitefolk, funded by wealthy whitefolk, used working class whitefolk to violently and illegally overthrow a democratic election, and went home that evening with no worry of arrest. What can be: All those thugs, rich and poor, actually being held accountable for their crimes of murder, assault and sedition…all to de-legitimize legitimate Black votes.


Last year, Chet Hanks, artist and son of legendary actor Tom Hanks, called for a “White Boy Summer,” i.e. young, white males who were comfortable with Black people and Black culture to kick back and enjoy life. This year, however, white nationalists have adopted that phrase as a rallying cry to ratchet up the violence against any folk not in their group.

The roughly 30 Proud Boy types in that U-Haul minutes away from inflicting mayhem on that Idaho Pride parade was just a preview. And as the Jan. 6 hearings have revealed, membership in these criminal white domestic terrorist groups sky-rocketed leading up to the insurrection, and have continued to grow. So, we can either spend our time focusing on Rihanna’s new baby and the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard decision, or we can begin having serious conversations about how we can protect our families and communities.


Here in Texas, we’re very familiar with the histories of Juneteenth, both 1) the white-washed version that promotes the myth that word of Emancipation simply didn’t reach Texas until June 1865, and when it did, Gen. George Granger opened the doors to freedom for us; and 2) the reality that our ancestors were purposefully kept enslaved for 2 ½ additional years to exploit them to the Nth degree, and when freedom did come, it came in the form of Granger’s mostly Black troops who went from plantation to plantation making sure we were freed.

And we’ve seen how this state observance has grown to become a national holiday and international phenomenon. But hey, Defender CEO Sonceria Messiah Jiles is challenging us to not stop there. Check out her powerful ideas on how we can use Juneteenth more strategically in her editorial which can be found at 

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...