Sitka Conservation Society condemns the actions of the violent mob that laid siege on the Capitol this week while the chambers of Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 election. We are appalled and disgusted by the attack on the Capitol, and by our president, who incited this mob to violence and encouraged them to commit the acts of terror that followed. We are heartbroken to see the house of the people – a place where all our rights should be respected – desecrated.
We know that our democracy is not a given. It is not something that exists without our defense of it, our participation in it, our voices shaping it, our consistent efforts to expand access to it to those who are still disenfranchised. If we do not use our democracy, it will be taken away from us. Our country offers us the opportunity to do better. Just hours before the siege on the Capitol, Reverend Raphael Warnock won his race in Georgia and summed up this American opportunity well, stating, “The 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator.”
This historic moment that Rev. Warnock refers to was not given to Black, Brown, Indigenous, and other people of color. It was not given to women. These civil rights, including the right to participate in our democracy and vote, were long fought for through peaceful, nonviolent means. The activists that fought for these rights were not met with a peaceful, nonviolent response from the state or the public. Many, many people, predominantly Black, Brown, Indigenous, and other people of color, have sacrificed, and many have died in their efforts to correct these injustices.
If anything is clear after this week, it is that we must remain vigilant and active in our defense of democracy. Every time we cast a vote, volunteer for public service, or peacefully gather to make our voices heard, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to make our system of governance fairer and more equitable for all.
Now is not the time to wallow in apathy or resign ourselves to our current state of affairs; now is the time to ground ourselves in love for our neighbors, our communities, and come together as Americans, to usher in a brighter future.