Six months after the fall of Kabul, it’s still surreal to read about a piece of history we just lived through. In the last few weeks, revelations have surfaced concerning the disarray and disagreements within the Biden administration over how to handle evacuations of vulnerable Afghans during the months-long troop withdrawal. They are a jarring reminder of a crisis that could have been avoided, and how hard advocates fought to avoid the dramatic and devastating result.
On 900 Rhode Island Ave, in our nation’s capital, lies Carter G Woodson Memorial Park where there stands a majestic statue of the man who is notably known as the father of Black History. Every time I walk past Brother Woodson’s statue, I pause and reflect. Every time I drive by it, I give a glance of recognition. Every time though, I always ponder as to whether those who have begun calling the Shaw neighborhood home over the past twenty years have any recollection as to who Brother Woodson is, let alone have stopped for a brief moment to read the plaque…
On the first anniversary of the January 6th insurrection on the capital, it is being remembered as one of those moments in history that is etched in the fabric of our collective memory. Our nation was shaken after watching the events unfold.
January 6th made many Americans painfully aware of the threat of domestic extremism. But it was simply the manifestation of a crisis -- a crisis that has only gotten worse in the 12 months since.
In 1863, in the ensuing chaos after the Battle of Gettysburg, Private Mohammed Kahn was separated from his regiment. Union military police arrested him and brought him before the Provost Marshall. Kahn, a Muslim who immigrated to the United States only months before the Civil War ignited, had enlisted in the Union Army to defend his new homeland from the scourge of bigotry, racism, and extremism. But the 43rd New York Infantry Regiment in which Kahn enlisted was an all white unit. Rejecting Kahn’s sincere and desperate pleas to reunite and fight alongside his regiment, the Provost Marshall sent Kahn to a Philadelphia labor camp. Despite Kahn’s willingness to give the ultimate sacrifice for his nation, his nation imprisoned him on account of his skin color and his faith.