The country watched as rioters clashed with police, smashed windows and broke through barricades—ultimately forcing Congress to evacuate parts of the building—and by the end of the day, according to NBC News, four people were dead, a noose had been erected outside and at least one improvised explosive device was found on the grounds.
For many, this begs the question: Why wasn't the police response similar to that of last year's Black Lives Matter protests at the Capitol? In D.C. and all across the U.S., demonstrators gathered throughout the summer to peacefully protest police brutality and racial injustice, but per CNN, they were regularly met with tear gas, violence and arrests.
Why? For E!'s Nina Parker, the answer is clear.
"For me, I'm really just tired of seeing two different narratives," she told co-hosts Justin Sylvester and Carissa Culiner on Thursday, Jan. 7's Daily Pop. "Obviously, Justin, you were protesting in the summer. You were out in the streets. And there were so many things that we were discussing and seeing. You know, Justin was telling us how he was out and peacefully protesting and how they were met with mace and people were being hit with rubber bullets. And then I see people getting into the Capitol. I've talked to people who are in D.C., who have told me, 'Girl, you can't drive by a certain way, you can't even pass a barrier to take a photo and there are literally people with guns aimed at you telling you to move.'"
"So the fact that people could get this far, there's a disconnect that needs to be clear and I'm so glad that cameras caught it," Nina continued. "But I'm really sick of people saying there aren't two different Americas, because there are. There are different Americas and different ways that people are treated depending upon your skin color. And yesterday [proved] that fact."
At this point, Nina expressed, "It's just tired."
"It's exhausting to see," she added. "You feel like you're screaming into an empty room...This is a travesty to see people do this on Capitol Hill. A travesty to see it. And we needed to see something like this for people to understand how far privilege reaches."
Justin, who recounted his protest experience that Nina referenced last June, echoed her sentiments.
"When I was going through the march, you are right, it was a completely different thing," he told his Daily Pop co-hosts. "But I'm grateful that people get to see that this—these are two different Americas. We were doing the same things, we were doing them in a different way. We were peacefully doing them and we were met with force. They were forcefully doing them and met with peace. I really hope that people out there really look at these two separate things and think why and what do we have to change?"
The Just the Sip host went on to explain that for him, there's another important takeaway from the Capitol riots: "When I see the Congresspeople and the Senators under desks and hiding for their lives, the next time someone from Parkland, from Columbine, parents from Sandy Hook come and talk about gun safety in schools, I want you to remember that moment where you were fearful for your life under that desk."
"And pretend that you were 10 years old, 12 years old, that you're a 15-year-old student in the classroom, have that empathy," Justin urged. "Because those people have not experienced anything like that, and that was the first time, and for that, I'm grateful."
Nina added a parting note with a plea for anyone listening.
"People don't feel personally affected a lot of times; They just don't have an interest in caring. And there needs to be more empathy," she said. "Just because it doesn't look like you or maybe it doesn't affect you in your community, there are people who have the privilege of turning off the TV and not being affected at all—we don't have that luxury. So it's really just a time for everybody to continue to open their eyes, not stop because the summer is over and maybe you don't see people protesting in your neighborhood. The fight is still continuing. And instead of turning off, turn on. Do something."
Watch the complete Daily Pop segment in the above clip.