In response to the shameful violence and lawlessness at the U.S. Capitol yesterday, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience restates its unwavering commitment to democratic norms, to truth, and to free and fair elections that reflect the will of the people.
While yesterday’s events at the U.S. Capitol have left many of us feeling stunned, this brutal attack on democracy was a long time coming. In the past four years, we have seen a marked rise in hate crimes against minorities, in nationalist rhetoric, and in attacks on the free press. We have seen elected leaders cheer on white supremacists and promote fraudulent claims that seek to disenfranchise millions of people. All of these warning signs happened in plain sight, coming directly from or with the full support of the U.S. President and sycophantic lawmakers who have enabled him. Yesterday was anything but an anomaly. It was a calculated culmination, a perfect storm of racism, denialism, greed and cowardice.
Although it is easy to feel disheartened right now, we at the Coalition take great strength and hope from the more than 300 Sites of Conscience working around the globe to tackle these dark forces head on – calling out injustice and hypocrisy as it occurs; providing platforms for marginalized groups to share their experiences; and offering concrete opportunities for all people to listen, learn and demand equality, justice and freedom for all.
As this administration comes to a close and an opportunity to heal from this divisive and fractious period presents itself, Sites of Conscience will play a vital role not only in assisting communities to face the past with honesty, transparency and courage, but also in reminding each and every one of us of our power and responsibility to stand up to hatred and intolerance. Our members from Bosnia to Rwanda know all too well how fragile democracy is, but history teaches us that there is no greater antidote to injustice than the bravery and determination of everyday citizens.
With love and solidarity,
The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience