The rioters who pillaged the U.S. Capitol last week left the place in shambles, the wreckage including everything from splintered antique furniture to feces smeared on the walls. Once the mob cleared out for whatever sewers they call home, it was Black and brown workers who were left to pick up their mess.
Several participants in last week’s riots have been identified as neo-Nazis and members of far-right paramilitary groups; at least one Confederate flag was seen being flown in the Capitol’s halls. Having to pick up after a largely white group of insurrectionists was, as one custodial employee told Business Insider, degrading, adding that “we’re all Black in our labor shop.”
Not only that, but janitorial and labor employees, all of whom were Black or Latinx, said that the mob’s easy breach of security made it so they no longer feel secure in their workplace, and are afraid of what’s to come.
“I was here on 9/11, and that was probably the most scared I’ve ever been in my 25 years here, but this one is a step, a notch, on the scale,” said a staffer who has worked at the Capitol for more than two decades. “It’s a little bit worse than 9/11 for me. It was a little more personal, in a sense.”
Another man who performs janitorial duties at a Senate office building told the outlet he hid in a large room during the rioting after his supervisor told him to find shelter. Others said they hope to not work on Inauguration Day for fear of further threats to their safety.
Several more echoed the much-discussed racist double-standard between the brutal crackdowns on this summers Black Lives Matter protests and last week’s rioters.
“If it was Black people, we never would have made it, but I think we know better not to attack the Capitol,” the 28-year veteran of the Capitol told Insider. “Yeah. We know better. We know better.”