Miami’s Commemoration January 6: “We’re Not Here to Celebrate”

The Federal Detention Center in downtown Miami is a 17-story concrete building with dozens of small slits that correspond to the inmates’ cells. In one of these cells lives Paul Hodgkins, the first person convicted of participating in the January 6, 2021 uprising at the United States Capitol. There are about 1,500 inmates placed here – a disproportionate number of whom are black and Hispanic – but Hodgkins, a white 30 Tampa man with long black hair, is the reason why about 30 people are gathered here at 6 p.m. 15.30 Thursday 6 January. , 2022: to protest the perceived injustice of his eight-month imprisonment on the one-year anniversary of the day he and a crowd of Donald Trump supporters tried to stop the certification of votes for newly elected President Joe Biden.

“We want to say a prayer for those in prison – they are not alone,” event organizer and former presidential candidate Souraya Faas told a cohort of journalists, photographers and videographers who are almost more than the insurgency sympathizers. At one point, her voice cracks and her eyes get good from tears. “They did nothing wrong other than exercise their freedoms.”

There is certainly an irony in a group of people who are on guard against the media calling a “press conference”. The portable press in pressed wood is the de facto front line between the journalists and MAGA supporters, Proud Boys and Miami Springs Republican Club members, who requested our presence. None of the factions are trying to cross this invisible border.

“I feed poorly on journalists who can not do their jobs the way they want to because the liberal media backed by companies tell you what to do and control the narrative,” Faas says. “When a lie is repeated so many times, they think it’s true.”

For the most part, the uprising sympathizers do not want to be interviewed and stand in a frightening silence, wearing sunglasses and gaiters that cover half of their face. They want to wave the American flag. They disagree that January 6 was “violent”, or that it was a “rebellion” at all, and are therefore offended by being called “rebel sympathizers”. Their shirts carry messages like “We the people”, “What does not kill me better start running” and “Stop hating”. Cars passing North Miami Avenue are howling and shouting – though it is unclear whether the sounds are in solidarity or opposition.

Eulalia Jimenez, a stylish brunette wearing the black tank top that says “Stop Hating”, agrees to talk to a New Times reporter, even if a friend warns about it New Times “will distort her words and blame autocorrection.”

“We are freedom fighters fighting in solidarity for the future of our country, which is clearly under attack,” Jimenez declares.. “I hope people continue to unite and stand for the freedoms this country was founded on, for our children.”

Jimenez explains that she attended Donald Trump’s demonstration on January 6 in Washington, DC, but never walked into the Capitol building and insisted that the event was “peaceful.” She reports that there were “people who you could see were not MAGA supporters” and that “they did not belong.”

“It was clear that a setup was taking place,” she says. “From the outside, I could see people going in and out, but everyone was escorted by the DC police – or people dressed as the DC police.”

An American flag dangles from the back pocket of Jimenez ‘jeans. It belonged to a woman named Wanda Albritton, who died in September last year of COVID-19. She was a member of the Miami Springs Republican Club and attended Donald Trump’s demonstration on January 6 with her husband, Steve Albritton, who gave the flag to Jimenez this afternoon to continue his wife’s legacy in political activism.

“They keep calling it a rebellion, but if we wanted to take over, we could have done so in large numbers,” Albritton claims. “It’s ridiculous. We were invited. They kept the doors open [to the Capitol] open to them. I saw them.”

click to enlarge A participant waves an American flag.  See more photos from the collection on January 6 here.  - PHOTO: JESS SWANSON

Souraya Faas leads a vigil and then recites her own statement: “Everyone thinks we are here to celebrate, but we are not here to celebrate, but remember something unfortunate that did not have to happen if politicians had listened to people instead of than their own self-interests …. What happened on January 6th can not happen again. ”

A man recites the pledge of allegiance, while some participants greet one or the other of the six American flags in the immediate vicinity. Albritton sings “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and then it’s Gabriel Garcia’s turn.

Garcia, the former head of the Vice City Proud Boys, filmed himself walking into the Capitol with other troublemakers, exclaiming: “Nancy [Pelosi], come out and play! “and calls the US Capitol police officers who tried to stop the rioters,” cursed traitors. “He is free on bail pending the resolution of several charges of misdemeanors and crimes. He had requested that his GPS ankle monitor was removed because he found the beeps “embarrassing”, but this afternoon its silhouette is evident through his jeans.

Garcia spoke of a “two-stage judicial system” comparing the January 6 invasion of the US capital with the Geroge Floyd protests in the summer of 2020. “[The former] led to $ 30 million in compensation, the other $ 2 billion – but one does not see too many people from [the Floyd demonstrations] being held accountable, “he says.” They have compared [January 6] to the deadly attacks from Pearl Harbor and 9/11, which is one of the reasons I enlisted in the Army in the first place. ”

He adds: “I love my country and many Americans are tired of being silent, canceling culture and being called supremacists and racists. There is nothing racist about a man named Gabriel Garcia – let’s make it clear that being against the left does it. do not make you racist. ”

After the press conference is over and the journalists pack up, the group tumbles and discusses where to eat. Versailles is proposed, then voted down. As the deliberations continue, a young woman noticing Jimenez’s “Stop Hating” shirt assures her that “when you do the right thing, you will be hated.”


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