January 7, 2021
A Letter from APL’s Executive Director
Dear APL community,
Today I join with you in our collective sadness and horror over the events that transpired at our Capitol yesterday in Washington, D.C. This has been a year of repeated traumas for many in our school community. I’ll be honest and say that my “cup” of trauma was already pretty full yesterday; processing the horrifying visuals of rioters storming the capitol building, and piecing together the inflammatory language of our president with the timeline of events yesterday evening, truly was traumatic. The stark contrast between the way these rioters were treated and the way protesters in the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s murders were treated is striking and inspires rage in my belly.
APL rejects the ideologies of white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and discrimination that were on display yesterday. We stand as allies working within and without our classroom spaces to educate, support, and lift others up through change in ourselves and our communities.
Our first amendment rights as citizens of the United States are fundamental to being American, however they do not condone or protect acts of violence, or turning a peaceful assemblage into a mob. For government leaders and those in positions of legal and social power, it is critically important for them to use measured rhetoric and monitor the way their words and ideas reverberate among our citizens. That these rioters were attempting to disrupt the Electoral College certification by Congress, a ceremonial piece of our democratic structure, is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. Finally, I grieve with the families of those who lost their lives in yesterday’s insurrection, and for what their deaths will mean for our country’s history when we look back on this day. It is a day that will not be forgotten; our democracy is under the microscope around the world, and it is clear there is much work and healing to be done.
Our congressional leaders’ decision to reconvene the people’s work in the Capitol chambers speaks to the hope I still have for our country. There is good, there is hope, there is bravery and strength. Yesterday saw the election of Georgia’s first senator of color and the state’s first Jewish senator. We have made such progress as a nation, and while we fight forces of hatred and division together, we must press on into the wind with linked arms, as a citizenry united.