Yesterday, our nation watched in horror as a violent mob of rioters attacked the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. I know that I am not alone in my feelings of fear, outrage, and sadness over the criminal acts that unfolded as Congress met to carry out its fundamental role in the peaceful transition of presidential leadership. I offer my support as we try to heal individually and as a Milton community.
The attack on the Capitol was an assault on our democracy, fueled by false claims—an interruption of and attempt to invalidate a free and fair election. Rioters carried and wore symbols of hate. These actions are directly opposed to our values as a School: treasuring respect for one another, celebrating differences, and teaching students to be critical thinkers, seekers of truth, and advocates for justice. Yesterday’s mob represented nothing that we wish our students to emulate or even tolerate.
It is tempting to say, as a nation, “This is not who we are.” But we know that American history, rich and complex as it is, has been touched by violence since the days of colonization. We see it today in racism, white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, cultural erasure, voter suppression, economic injustice, religious persecution, and disparities in criminal justice. Yesterday’s images—of confederate flags and anti-Semitic references paraded through the halls of the Capitol—underscore the dangerous presence of hate in our country. We cannot ignore the grave differences in the response to yesterday’s violence when compared with the responses to demonstrations in support of Black lives. Many in the Black Lives Matter movement, protesting police killings of Black people and other injustices, have been tear-gassed, beaten, and unlawfully detained.
Within Milton’s academic divisions and institutionally, we are offering resources for students and adults to process and discuss yesterday’s events. As we approach Inauguration Day and the possibility of additional unrest, we will continue to provide programming and spaces to support our community members.
Hours after the insurrection started, our nation’s lawmakers returned to the Capitol chambers to complete their constitutional duty. In spite of the disruption and trauma of the day, democracy prevailed. As political uncertainty remains, I hope we can continue to comfort and care for one another with kindness, respect, and compassion.
Todd B. Bland
Head of School